5-Hour Energy creator to distribute 10,000 stationary bikes to power homes in India

You may not know the name Manoj Bhargava, but you’ve probably seen his creation enough times for it to become a household name. Bottles of 5-hour Energy sit stacked at virtually every convenience store counter and supermarket checkout aisle in the country, and now Bhargava wants to pay forward his immense career success by bringing a game-changing renewable energy solution to his home country, India.

While Bhargava’s monetary success has been debated by finance experts and media representatives, popular estimates say his entrepreneurial portfolio has earned him somewhere around $4 billion in personal wealth. Bhargava’s commitment to developing sustainable, affordable solutions to global issues on a huge scale have led him to research desalination systems to create potable water reserves and even a unique graphene cord that would harness geothermal energy.

Bhargava hasn’t given up on these projects, and his graphene cord has environmentalists and sustainability experts atwitter with either excitement or dissent, depending on who you ask. But it’s his Free Electric movement that Bhargava believes is going to revolutionize electricity for the billions of people around the world who live day to day without reliable access to power.

The Free Electric project is powered by a stationary bike –or rather, 10,000 stationary bikes– which Bhargava will distribute throughout cities and villages in India. Each bike is equipped with a battery that holds the electric charge created by the pedaling action that turns a turbine generator. Bhargava plans to test a round of 50 bikes in small villages in Uttarakhand, in Northern India before rolling out the full 10,000 throughout the rest of India in the first quarter of 106.

Bhargava has promised that Free Electric bikes will be an affordable investment for Indian families, and will make them available in a variety of formats so that people can work together to bring power to their villages. Bhargava believes manufacturing costs can be kept low, so bikes can be sold for about $100, at his estimation. The bikes will be made in India, and will be simple enough that any mechanic or repairman will be able to tend to wear and tear.

One hour of pedaling is expected to power the electricity needs of a standard Indian home for a whole day, including lights and basic appliances. Bhargava envisions communities and villages pooling their resources to purchase one bike with multiple, exchangeable batteries, so that individual homes can be powered by the effort of a single communal Free Electric bike.

Critics of projects like Free Electric have suggested that people living in poverty around the world don’t want off-the-grid energy solutions, they want grid-based power in the same way so much of the developed world experiences it. Bhargava himself admitted to National Geographic that impoverished communities want the same things as those in developed nations, but he hopes that Free Electric will help people sustain themselves and their families with a responsible, renewable electricity solution in the meantime.

Emerging Tech

Smarter cities need smarter addresses. And you just need 3 words

To make really smart transportation choices, more precise location data will have to be integrated with citywide transportation data. Here’s how one company is mapping the world by using just three words.
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.
Cars

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.
Product Review

DJI has always been the king of drones, and the new Mavics are almost perfect

After flying both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom for over a week, we’re convinced that these are two of the best drones that DJI has ever made.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Emerging Tech

Ghostly galaxy discovered lurking on the edge of the Milky Way

A team of astronomers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a strange galaxy next door to the Milky Way. The dwarf galaxy, named Antlia 2, is dark and dim and gives out much less light than expected.
Emerging Tech

Ancient crater the size of NYC discovered under the Greenland ice sheet

A huge crater has been discovered beneath the ice of Greenland, and is thought to be the result of a meteorite impact millions of years ago. The crater is one of the largest ever discovered, measuring 19 miles across.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how the InSight mission to Mars will confirm its landing to NASA

NASA's InSight mission has sent a lander to Mars. NASA researchers have now shared details on how they will monitor the touching down of the lander at the end of its 91 million mile journey.
Emerging Tech

Would you swap your keycard for a microchip implant? For many, the answer is yes

Put down your keycard! More people are turning to implanted RFID chips as their choice of workplace identification. Should we be worried about a world in which employees get microchipped?
Outdoors

‘Super magnesium’ may be the next wonder material for outdoor gear

Super Magnesium is a wonder material that is 30 percent lighter than aluminum, as strong as carbon fiber, cheaper to make, and 100-percent recyclable, making it much better for the environment.
Emerging Tech

Forget joysticks — the Guts Game is controlled by a sensor that you swallow

Researchers have created an unusual new game in which players swallow a biosensor and then compete to raise or lower the temperature in their gut. Sound crazy? Here's why it could catch on.