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No batteries! e-bikes with super capacitors are here!


Image credit: Pi-Pop


Hi, we all know what capacitors are. These are the tiny components usually placed vertically on a printed circuit board inside almost every electronic gadget you use. Capacitors come in different shapes, voltages and capacities. The bigger size usually means that the capacitor is of a higher capacity or higher voltage. The beauty of the capacitor is that it comprises of simple plates of electrodes usually coiled or multilayered into the smallest possible size and with a good dielectric in between the plates. It works on the principle of an electrical charge which is held between the 2 plates thereby causing storage of electricity with minimum loss. The only trouble is that the energy storage in the capacitor is too small to be utilised as a source of energy for small gadgets or devices that we need.

 However, a breakthrough was achieved when we invented a device called the Supercapacitor. So what is a supercapacitor and where can it be used?

Well, a supercapacitor is a device which has capabilities which are many times higher than those of a simple capacitor. The trick used by the Supercapacitor design is that the construction is such that the surface area of the plates is vastly increased on the atomic or nanoscale and so the capacity which is proportional to the area of the electrodes becomes super high. The best quality of a super capacitor is that if it is utilised for energy storage then it can charge and discharge very fast. There are so many applications for the Supercapacitor and more are discovered each day however one that I found interesting today, is its application in e-bikes.

Using supercapacitors in e-bikes is an interesting concept that some manufacturers have explored. Let me share some information about e-bikes powered by supercapacitors:


  1. Ostrichoo E-Bikes:


o   Dutch brand Ostrichoo has developed a range of e-bikes that use supercapacitors instead of traditional lithium-ion batteries.


  1. Supercapacitors have several advantages for e-bikes: Rapid Charging and Discharging: Supercapacitors can release a lot of energy quickly, making them ideal for situations like sprinting up steep hills. Fast Recharge Time: They can recharge in just a few minutes, either through regenerative braking or pedaling. Environmental Impact: Supercapacitors are made from aluminum and coal, which are cheaper to produce and use fewer rare earth metals.

  2. Ostrichoo’s supercapacitor-powered bikes have a shorter range (about 70 kilometers or 44 miles on a single charge) but compensate with their quick charging time (just 30 minutes).

  3. For example, their entry-level model, the Nero, is a rugged e-MTB priced at 1,199 euros (approximately $1,324 USD), while the Caesar is a compact urban commuter with a 120-kilometer (75-mile) range and a higher price of 3,199 euros ($3,532 USD).

  4. PI-POP E-Bike:


o   The PI-POP, a French e-bike, also uses a supercapacitor energy storage system instead of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.


  1. The supercapacitor is recharged during pedalling on flat terrain, coasting downhill, or braking.

  2. While the PI-POP is a bit more expensive than comparable battery e-bikes (priced at €2,450), it offers an innovative approach to energy storage.

  3. How Supercapacitors Work: Supercapacitors store energy electrostatically and can transfer energy quickly. When the ride is easy or during braking (thanks to engine braking), the supercapacitor stores energy and releases it when needed.


In summary, while supercapacitor-powered e-bikes have limitations in terms of range, their rapid charging and environmental benefits make them an exciting alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries. 

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Arun Bhatia

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6 views3 comments

3 comentarios


bmohan
bmohan
08 may

Interesting.

In fact there is a company in India who are in Capacitor based batteries. They use capacitor battery to provide high initial current for starting motors etc.

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bmohan
bmohan
08 may
Contestando a

Do not remember. Attended their presentation before Covid. Based out of Pune? Using to start aircraft engines.

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