|The Copenhagen Wheel|
The Copenhagen Wheel may be a funny name for a wheel developed in the US but it’s a pretty cool idea. The wheel uses regenerative power developed while you coast or brake to charge batteries that then help you when you’re going uphill.
I’m not quite clear on the physics of that. Every conversion of energy results in a loss of energy, so the conversion of your momentum into electricity then back into mechanical energy to assist you later…well, there has to be a net loss. That said, you effectively do the same thing on a bike every time you ride downhill. You store that momentum and re-use it to help get you up the other side. The sad part is that wind resistance robs you of much of your energy and you never get very far up the other hill without peddling. This system is potentially more efficient than that and could assist you all the way to the top.
They have a little vid that shows how it works, shown below:
Some of the stuff the Copenhagen Wheel does (sensors to store and map CO2 emissions) sounds more like a Uni project gone wild than a commercial project but if such gimmicks help get peoeple interested in alternative urban transport then I’m all in favour of it. The website promises the wheel will hit the market at about $US400, which means you’re not actually paying for too many gimmicks.
They also have a Facebook page.