UPitt student develops electric-powered bike

There's no question that the popularity and availability of electric vehicles has been on the rise, but automakers have had serious problems making a model of battery-powered transportation that's affordable, efficient and practical. The Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi -MiEV have made a significant splash in the electric car market, but one senior from the University of Pittsburgh has developed a vehicle that could set the standard for efficiency.

In 2011, mechanical engineering student Micah Toll founded Pulse Motors to develop two-wheeled Personal Electric Vehicles (PEVs). The company's goal was to find a environmentally friendly alternative to traditional urban commuting.

With the help of two fellow students, Toll concocted the Personal Electric Vehicle Zero, or the PEV0, which looks very similar to conventional bicycles, but is powered primarily by lithium battery technology. According to Inc.com, the PEV0 can drive more than 100 miles for just 25 cents worth of electricity, which is 30 times more than a Toyota Prius.

Riders have the option to pedal the bike as well, which only increases the bike's efficiency. The PEV0 can travel as fast as 20 miles per hour on just electric power, but can go even quicker with pedaling. The Pulse Motors website says that the PEV0 is equipped with extra torque for going up hills, and has special brakes that actually charge the battery while the vehicle is decelerating. With a complete charge, the bike can travel 30 to 45 miles.

"By taking technology that is normally considered too expensive or limiting and using our own innovations and business model to make it affordable and convenient, we think we can open the door for everybody and make mass electric vehicle adoption a reality," Toll told Inc.com.

According to the website, the PEV0 doesn't require registration or license, and is street-legal in all 50 states.

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