eBike innovations of the past were mainly geared towards minor quality of life changes like longer drive times, more stylish exteriors and lighter frames. And while the folks at Pragma Industries have still put thought into these areas, the company’s real focus has shifted towards a new front, ditching the conventional lithium-ion batteries in favor of hydrogen fuel cells. These efforts have resulted in Alpha, which is said to be the first commercially available eBike to boast such a feat.
Last year saw a noteworthy increase in the eBike trend, with more and more individuals relying on the rides for their daily commutes. But even with all the improvements from 2017, eBikes still have some annoyances that make it difficult for many to adopt as their daily transport of choice.
Most eBikes on the market today are powered by lithium-ion batteries and provide anywhere from a 30 to 60 mile range, with top speeds capping around 25 mph. The real issue here is that refueling most eBikes is a lengthy process, typically taking up to 5 hours to completely recharge. While Alpha sports a similar range and top speed, the hydrogen fuel cell-based bicycle’s main selling point is tackling those pesky charge times.
Pragma’s latest eBike packs a 2-liter tank for hydrogen that enables its 60 mile range. The real power of this fuel cell technology is its ability to recharge in no time at all. In fact, Alpha’s 2 minute charging time may just be the fastest on the market.
Unfortunately for Pragma Industries, Alpha most likely won’t be the widely adopted eBike it hopes. Aside from an extremely unaffordable 7,500 euro price tag (just under $9,200), the bike’s reliance on hydrogen is more of a hinderance than a perk as of now. Despite the advances made in the renewable energy sector, hydrogen fueling stations are almost non-existent for widespread public use. While you can of course purchase your own, these stations carry even more ludicrous $35,000 price tags.
But at the end of the day, Alpha is still an innovative attempt to drive eBikes into the future. While it seems in the early stages, Pragma is willing to gamble on hydrogen’s ubiquity down the road, a bet that could have a huge payoff for the company and commuters looking to get something extra out of their daily rides. Even though Alpha is priced out of reach for most consumers, it’ll be worth keeping your eyes on Pragma in the future.
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