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An e-bike that doesn't need to be plugged in? Pi-POP runs without a battery

Whether for recreation or daily commutes, e-bike usage continues to grow worldwide; in Europe, sales of electric bicycles are set to overtake those of regular bikes in the next few years. Most e-bikes are powered by lithium, which has its environmental and social downsides. But there's now a lithium-free alternative: electric bicycles that work without batteries, by French startup Pi-POP.

Instead of batteries, Pi-POP uses a supercapacitor to store electricity. The technology centers on energy regeneration — the power held within the supercapacitors is topped up while pedaling, coasting downhill or braking. Which means users get an electric assist while cycling without ever needing to plug in their bike or battery.

Pi-POP designed its bicycle, which it claims is a world's first, with the primary objective of reducing micromobility's ecological footprint. Unlike lithium batteries, supercapacitors are made of common materials — mainly aluminum, carbon, cellulose and polymers — which are relatively easy to recycle or process. With vastly more charge cycles than lithium batteries, supercapacitors also have a longer lifespan.

Minimizing shipping, Pi-POP manufactures its bikes in Orléans. The brand's third-generation model launched this summer, sells for EUR 2450 and comes in any color so long as it is white ;-)

Trend Bite

Lithium is the driving force behind electric vehicles, but its extraction casts a long ecological shadow. From water and air pollution to biodiversity loss, the race for clean transport paradoxically runs on environmentally detrimental mining practices. And demand for lithium is projected to outstrip supply by 2030.

Pi-POP's e-bike presents a mindful alternative to lithium-dependent transportation. By harnessing the power of supercapacitors, it offers the perks of an e-bike commute without the baggage associated with lithium extraction. The ride won't be as entirely effortless as on some electric bicycles, but for consumers guided by environmental concerns, it could be the next-level eco-innovation they've been waiting for. A greener green worth sacrificing a bit of ease. As Pi-POP points out to potential buyers: "You have more energy than you imagine."

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: Mihaela Tantas