Just a few days ago, I mentioned bicycles being used to charge cell phones in post-storm Manhattan. That task could have been made easier for more people with a product like the PowerPac designed by Ideso, a South African product design consulting firm. The PowerPac is the “world’s first product to offer a removable power storage unit that becomes a portable charging unit for use anywhere in the home or office”, and it recently beat thousands of other international products to win the Red Dot ‘Best of the Best 2012’ Design Award.
Ideso founder Marc Ruwiel explains that their “aim was to create an aesthetically pleasing, user friendly and functional design that marries the fluidity of cycling with dynamic power generation. It can be used by avid cyclists who can reduce CO2 emissions and generate their own electrical power, while enjoying a good workout at home.” He points out that an average cyclist can fully charge the battery with 80 minutes of cycling. The resulting 132Wh of charge/potential energy can be stored in the battery and used to fully charge or power a smartphone, computer, tablet, camera, or even something like a power tool.
According to Ideso, “The PowerPac features two housings to contain the required components. The larger housing is split into a front and a back cover that contains the permanent magnet DC generator and the charge controller. The smaller battery housing is split into a top and a base cover and contains the 12V battery with a capacity of 11Ah, a DC to AC inverter and various energy output options: 220V AC (conventional plug), 12 DC (cigarette lighter) and 5V DC (USB).”
It looks like a very useful product, but you can’t buy one just yet. Currently, Ideso is seeking an investment partner with a presence in the cycling industry to help develop the PowerPac and get it into production. If you know of a company that might be interested, contact Ideso through their website.