Manoj Bhargava, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, has been investing in building innovative and affordable technology to deal with day to day problems.
After creating a few successful products for markets in US and Europe, Manoj, has turned his focus on building products to harness clean energy in India.
In New Delhi, Manoj recently unveiled the smart bicycle generator, which generates free and clean electricity. An hour of peddling is said to generate enough electricity to power computer, light, fan and phone charger for about 24 hours.
“Nobody cares to make things for the poor as they feel there is no market there. I wanted to do just that,” said Manoj, whose net worth is more than $4 billion. He has also invested about $200 million in setting up an innovation workshop in US.
He also has a handful of various other projects in the pipeline, including water salination plants, affordable water filters, health devices and so on.
"Solar panels did not have much success in India. There are limitations to this technology. We wanted something that could make a real dent on diesel consumption in the country," Manoj told THE WEEK. His team took more than 2 years for developing the portable bicycle generator, which could be assembled and dismantled easily.
"I do not have any engineering degree. I knew that I wanted something that even a bicycle repairer can work with," said Manoj, who currently holds a US patent over the product.
The stationary cycle is expected to be available in the country from March next year. The device is likely to be priced between Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000, a price which, Manoj says, was found affordable by everyone after conducting surveys in rural hinterlands.
For the production, the company is likely to tie up with manufacturers in India, who can use their distribution networks to sell the product in rural as well as urban markets. Production of the free electricity generator cycle will happen simultaneously in India and in US and will be sold in over 50 other countries, which are facing acute power shortage.
The launch of the free electricity bike will take place in Uttarakhand.
“Uttarakhand is a power deficit state. It is also the place for India’s cultural beginning,” said Manoj.
After India, Africa is the the next major market for the product. “A future version of this smart cycle could also meet needs of farmers, who use diesel generators currently to irrigate water,” Manoj added.