Laura K. Cowan

Nico Jara's Pedal-Powered Potenza Concept Vehicle Stores Kinetic Energy

by , 06/28/11

Nico Jara, Potenza, electric bike, zero emissions, green transportation, alternative transportation, green automotive design, concept bike

The Potenza, a vehicle by Argentinian designer Nico Jara, is simple in concept: a human-powered four-wheel bike that stores energy from pedaling and later converts it into kinetic energy. It is designed for use in large cities as a zero-emissions way to get around without using a traditional bicycle.

Nico Jara, Potenza, electric bike, zero emissions, green transportation, alternative transportation, green automotive design, concept bike

The elegant design features four spoked wheels and a canopy up top to protect drivers from the elements. There’s no doubt that the bike is beautiful, but how efficient is it? This design would have to be tested to see how practical it is and how much energy normal pedaling would store for later use, but the concept is so simple that we could see it being made. What do you think? Let us know in comments.

Via Coroflot

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6 Comments

  1. Zeppflyer July 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I agree that there is rarely excess energy while pedaling, and this machine would certainly be useless in, say Iowa where your best bet is simply to have the most efficient connection between legs and wheel. But I live in western PA where my commute consists of many hills so long and steep that I am simply sitting there useless while the bike coasts its way down. If I could pedal at full power there and store the energy for the next climb, even if it were only at maybe 25% efficiency, it would still be a definite boon.

  2. LukeY July 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Rather than the energy used when we pedal, this machine would store the energy normally lost to heat in times normally associated with braking, like downhill. Which can be used later to help the rider back up the next hill!

  3. lazyreader July 1, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Agreed, the energy it takes just to feed someone to produce that energy is just irrelevant. Only 40 percent of the energy we consume in food is used metabolically, the rest is useless heat energy some of which keeps us warm, the rest must be expelled to keep us from frying to death.

  4. Anoid Engineer June 30, 2011 at 8:23 am

    It may be pretty, but it’s disconnected from physics and engineering – ‘storing energy for later use’?

    Human power output is feeble in the scheme of typical energy usage, and any cyclist with half a clue realizes the idea is to use your pedaling effort to move forward, there is no ‘extra’ energy available for storage and later use.

    It makes as much sense to follow an artist’s lead on energy as it would to follow an engineer’s lead on art…

  5. zeppflyer June 29, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    My question exactly, John. I’m betting flywheel. Maybe a capacitor? This feels more like a Prius with a human in place of the gas engine than a true electric bike. If we’re only talking a couple minutes of power assist, a flywheel or capacitor might do the trick. No word either on regenerative braking.

  6. John S. Allen June 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    How does this machine store energy? In a flywheel? A battery? The post doesn’t give a clue.

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