French La Poste Start Testing Cycleurope’s Hydrogen Bike
BAYONNE, France – Two years ago Cycleurope displayed the first prototype of its Hydrogen bike. Now it’s no longer science fiction as the French postal service ‘La Poste’ has started testing 12 of the bikes for future general use.
Two years ago Cycleurope launched its remarkable ‘Alter’ e-bike as a joint development with Pragma Industries and Ventec. Pragma Industries is specialized in developing hydrogen fuel cells particularly suitable for portable applications and electric mobility. Ventec is a leading French company in the production of Battery Management Systems (BMS) for lithium batteries.
New breed of hydrogen fuel cells
The three companies developed the world’s first bicycle to use a hydrogen fuel cell. “Highly environmental friendly and highly economical are the main features of this new means of powered transport,” said the press release issued by the three companies, which furthers with, “The Alter bike is making use of several technological solutions including a new breed of hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen chemical storage in recyclable canisters, as well as hybrid electronic architecture balancing power needs between the Li-ion battery and the hydrogen fuel cell.” At the presentation it was said that the planned sale start of the Alter Bike under the Gitane brand name is in 2016.
The La Poste test is for Cycleurope,”The ultimate test under real conditions,” said Jérôme Valentin, MD of Cycleurope France, based in Romilly-sur-Seine. In a local newspaper he further said that the successful, industrialization of the Hydrogen technology for e-bikes could come in a few years. In particular as e-bike sales is growing 25% per year.
“From the over 100,000 bikes we produce in France more than 30,000 are e-bikes this year. In 2011, they represented 10% of our sales. It’s 30% today,” said Valentin who further stipulated that except for road racing bikes, electric assistance now covers all types of bicycles. Cycleurope already sold some 17,000 regular bikes to La Poste.
The Hydrogen e-bikes that are currently tested by La Poste have the same technology as the original protoptye. This is a hydrogen fuel cell with hydrogen chemical storage in a re-useable canister. This comes with hybrid electronics connecting the fuel cell with a Li-ion battery.