Have you noticed how nothing lasts anymore? The quality of things has gone down, and the entire society seems to be on programmed obsolescence: even the quality of the roads, furniture, clothing, electronics, etc… everything is focused on profit, profit, profit, and very little on durability, or rather durability for just a few months, enough to buy the next product. We will talk about this programmed obsolescence another day. However, a Kenyan man has found use for old laptop batteries to power bikes. As we are pushed towards electric vehicles, his invention could enable a new way of thinking, focused on recycling and re-using what is readily available, as opposed to creating new waste. This article is not an endorsement of electric bikes, but rather a celebration of ingenuity and new ways of (re)using old things to make new ones. Excerpts below are from AfricaNews.
Paul Waweru is going shopping. He’s on the hunt for old laptop batteries. They cost him just KSH 50 ($0.50) per piece, but this Kenyan high school physics teacher has found an innovative use for the waste product.
They will power bikes. After he collects the items from dealers in Nairobi, he takes the haul back to his workshop. Here, he sorts them, dividing the working cells from those which are not working.
Waweru then assembles them into a battery that can be used to power electric motorbikes. He was inspired to come up with this innovation after running into trouble with a bike he’d bought.
… He’s founded a company called Ecomobilus to supply his laptop-battery powered bikes. He collects frames from old motorbikes, removes the engines and replaces them with a battery and a motor to propel the bike. They run on a 60 V direct current. The batteries take hours to charge but can take 45 minutes if on a fast charger. A fully charged battery can travel a distance of up to 100 kilometres. He says his invention compares very well to traditional motorbikes.
“Ecomobilus bikes are more advantageous compared to other gasoline powered bikes. Number one, because of the cost of maintenance. Ecomobilus bikes require zero maintenance because there are no mechanical parts that need to be repaired every often, we give it at least two years for services because the engines are no longer there, we are dealing with motors,” he says.
2 thoughts on “Use of Old Laptop Batteries to Power Bikes?”
This is great and very resourceful! I’ve noticed that about technology. How is it that I have some older things like a Sega Dreamcast that still works to this day, but my cell phone or computer can’t last that long. Good on him for making a new use for those batteries.
That my friend is the story of modern-day programmed obsolescence
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