Can you believe that using only an old bike and an UP Mini 3D printer, David Kitson from Western Australia has built the world’s first hybrid petrol/electric bicycle. David Kitson (46) of Stratton, says the project came about when he got his hands on a broken petrol bicycle. After repairing it, he decided to pimp the ride even further, and make it full hybrid.
“I had no idea it was the first before I started asking questions on some forums and sending private messages to people who had talked of such inventions in the past,”
Kitson says his project claims many world firsts, including the world’s smallest 1kW petrol generator. Apart from the brushless motor, the petrol motor and its electronics, the generator can be printed and maintained using any desktop 3D printer.
“From a 3D perspective, it’s almost a work of crazy art, in that I’ve been wracking my brain at every stage working out how to build huge parts in a UPMini within the small build volume of 120x120x120mm,” says Kitson, “I decided to try and make everything that wasn’t commercial (off the shelf) 3D printed, which means all that is required to build one is essentially a 3D printer. Congestion on roads is getting worse, and they keep looking for alternatives,” says Kitson. “Public transport isn’t a solution for everyone – not in Australia where things are so spread out. Neither are bicycles.”
Kitson says only a small percentage of the population would be capable of a cycle commute of more than 5km, but his invention could extend that distance to 40km, regardless of fitness level.
“You find yourself pedaling as much as you feel like. If it’s cold, that’s usually quite a lot,” he says. “But if it’s too hot? Well, just rest back and let the motor do it’s thing. You might think that not having to pedal means no exercise,” he says. “Once you’re on a bike, you can’t help but pedal. It’s natural. And in the case of the electric systems I’ve developed, it’s all just added to the motor.”
With a range of 50km on a tank, the bike hybrid manages about five times what the top electric systems can at full power – and it’s been confirmed by the Western Australian Department of Transport to be street legal.
Kitson designed the bike so that nothing could be patented to prevent others from claiming patents ahead of him. He intends to make the design plans publicly available so anybody with a 3D printer and a DIY attitude can make one of their own.
Watch the bike in action as David rides off into the future.