12:25PM BST 01 Oct 2015
The world’s first commercial electric bike running on hydrogen with only pure water as waste, so its makers claim, has been unveiled in France – and already snapped up by the country's post office.
It takes five minutes to charge and has a battery life of 100 kilometres (62 miles) and its Gallic makers claim it is a “world first”.
The Alpha bike, which hides its hydrogen batteries in its frame, leaves an almost neutral carbon footprint, its designers at Pragma Industries in Bidart, near Biarritz, southwestern France insist.
“The bike’s battery provides electricity from hydrogen and emits only pure water,” Pragma CEO Pierre Forté, 38, told AFP.
“This is a world first,” he said. A pit stop at special hydrogen recharge ranks only requires a five-minute charge compared to “three or four hours” for other types of electrically assisted bikes, he said.
The Appha hydrogen bike has a range of 100 km on a single charge Photo: AFP/Getty
Its autonomy of 100 kilometres is also higher than others. “All this with a minimal environmental footprint as these bikes are made of up ever more recyclable products," he said.
The charging stations themselves run on solar or wind power to cut carbon emissions as much as possible.
The bike only takes five minutes to charge Photo: AFP/Getty
Other models exist but are for now only in the “prototype phase,” said Mr Forté. The French Post Office has reportedly expressed an interest in ordering a fleet.
Production will begin with 100 bikes in 2016, which will be ramped up to 1,000 by 2017. At this level of output, the cost of a bike will be around €2,300 £1,700) - no more expensive than existing top-bracket electric bikes.
Alpha will be officially unveiled to the public during this year’s Intelligent Transport Systems congress in Bordeaux.