Electric bicycles are pretty much ubiquitous, and can very easily be purchased either online or at your nearest bicycle retailer. While e-bikes indeed hold the key to future personal mobility, it can be argued that their biggest drawback is their lengthy charging times and the range anxiety that accompanies it. Now, hydrogen power has been around for quite some time now, but we’ve hardly ever seen it incorporated in bicycle technology.
French e-mobility specialist Pragma Mobility is one company that’s adamant on making hydrogen-powered e-bikes a thing, and has been doing so for quite some time now. Its newest model, called the Alpha Neo, is very much like a standard electric-assist bicycle, but incorporates a hydrogen fuel cell which, according to Pragma Mobility, can be refueled in under two minutes. Naturally, the smooth operation of the Alpha Neo is dependent on hydrogen fuel infrastructure, and not all countries in the world have existing hydrogen refueling stations. However, in places that have the infrastructure, the Alpha Neo could be a game changer.
Diving into the tech, the Alph Neo is powered by a 250-watt electric motor integrated into the hub. Capable of delivering a peak output of 350 watts, the motor provides assistance up to a top speed of 25 kilometers per hour (15.5 miles per hour), per e-bike rules and regulations in Europe. As for the power source, the Alpha Neo is equipped with a hydrogen pack with a small 480 watt fuel cell. The hydrogen pack stores 67 grams of hydrogen under 300 bars (4,351 PSI) of pressure. All this translates to a range of 120 to 150 kilometers (75 to 94 miles) on a single charge. As mentioned earlier, Pragma Mobility says that it takes no more than two minutes to refuel the hydrogen power pack.
Now, onto the topic of pricing, it’s understandable that a machine this unique and niche would cost a pretty penny. Indeed, at retail, the Alpha Neo carries a hefty price tag of 5,690 Euros ($5,893 USD) excluding tax. To make it easier to swallow this premium price tag, Pragma is offering the Alpha Neo via a long-term rental scheme, wherein customers need to pay a token amount of 1,700 Euros ($1,761 USD), with monthly payments of 79 Euros ($82 USD).