Imagine living your life without power. No cell phone, no internet, no TV, not even basics like heating and air conditioning. As far-fetched as that may seem for some of us, there are over a billion people that live in those conditions every single day. That’s where an innovative group of inventors, investors, and philanthropists called Billions in Change comes in. According to their website, “our philosophy is simple – make things that meet the basic needs of those who don’t have the basics, thus enabling them to provide for themselves, their families and their communities. These basic needs include fresh water for drinking and agriculture; clean electricity to power homes, schools and businesses; and healthcare solutions that prevent disease.”
One such product that Billions in Change is putting into production is a stationary bike, that when ridden for 60 minutes, can provide a home with 24 hours of electricity.
The bike works on a very simple principle: ” A person pedals a hybrid bicycle. The bicycle wheel drives a flywheel, which turns a generator, which charges a battery. Pedaling for one hour yields electricity for 24 hours with no utility bill, and no exhaust, no waste.”
The bike’s inventor Manoj Bhargava is planning to distribute 10,000 of the bikes in India over the next year. “Everything requires energy,” says Bhargava, “Energy is the great equaliser.” One bike has the potential to power an entire village if people took turns riding it throughout the day. “The Free Electric machine gives people the power to generate electricity themselves – pollution free,” says the Billions in Change website. Giving people the opportunity to create their own electricity will change the standards of living for the people across the world that need it the most.
Check out this overview of how the bike works, and how Bhargava plans to put them to use: