Pedal-powered generators are nothing new. In fact, we’ve featured quite a few examples here on Inhabitat from a pedal-powered music festival in Union Square (which was “Powered by Natural Ass”) to the pedal-powered premiere of NBC’s Revolution, a show about a post-apocalyptic future world with no electricity. But those were one-off events – not a permanent system that needs to perform daily like the Citi Bike program. Would it be feasible to install the same kind of apparatus on Citi Bikes or Citi Bike docks?
Brooks Maschmeier, CEO of ASE Power Arizona (the company that supplied the generators for the NBC event) says that the answer is yes. “It’s extremely feasible,” Maschmeier told us over the phone today. “Looking at the docking stations, there’s plenty of room to place generators behind the bikes if we elevated them slightly,” he said. “The apparatus exists. We make it.” ASE is currently working with the University of Toronto’s Human Power Vehicle Design Team and architecture firm RAW Design on an event taking place tomorrow in Toronto that will feature triathletes pedaling bikes to discharge electricity back into the grid.
A mockup prepared by ASE of what a Citi Bike station equipped with pedal-powered generators could look like. “Each rider is able to make up to 300 watts per hour because the generator is 300 watt motor,” explained ASE CEO Brooks Maschmeier. “But most riders like myself will make about 100 watts per hour. We have made 800 watt bike generators for real extreme riders, but that is a lot of power. The power produced is very dependent on the rider.” Note: Currently, docked Citi Bikes can only be pedaled backwards. In order to maximize the power generated by pedaling, it is recommended that the rear tires be lifted slightly so that they could also be pedaled forwards.