Man collects outdated disposable vapes to energy his e-bike and cost his cellphone | EUROtoday

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A dad has mixed 70 disposable vape batteries to transform his “un-stealable pink ladies’ bicycle” into an e-bike able to reaching speeds of as much as 15mph.

Mark Hopgood, 55, a software program engineer and musician from Sevenoaks, Kent, got here up with the thought earlier in 2024 after his electrical bike broke down and he was quoted £1,200 to purchase a brand new one.

The father of two has been amassing lots of of discarded vapes over the previous yr with the assistance of his son Ned, 20, and experimenting with their batteries to energy varied electrical objects together with his iPhone and musical gear.

Mark bought a motorised wheel and spent weeks testing every one of many 70 batteries in his backyard shed to ensure they have been appropriate earlier than wiring them collectively and connecting them to his bike.

In May, Mark examined his home made e-bike on a three-mile stretch to Sevenoaks and is now planning his “stage two” design, which he stated won’t have so many wires hanging out.

He hopes to share his blueprints with different folks and run a workshop for many who are all for making their very own e-bike, however warned it is very important take sure security precautions in order that the batteries don’t overheat and catch hearth.

Mark is now planning stage two of his design (Collect/PA Real Life)
Mark is now strategy planning stage two of his design (Collect/PA Real Life) (PA)

“There must be millions of these vapes around, it’s just incredible,” Mark stated.

“The technology is no different to any other lithium-ion battery, it’s exactly the same as the cells that are in a Tesla.

“I don’t think there are many facilities for recycling disposable vapes, so there’s got to be a better way of using them until the end of their life cycle.

“I knew that each of the batteries was to spec but I didn’t know whether the shed would catch fire overnight.”

Mark had had an e-bike since 2017 which he used each day to cycle to and from his workplace in Canary Wharf.

But when his electrical bike stopped working in February this yr, he began pondering.

“When I took it to the shop to try and get it fixed they said ‘Oh, you’re better off buying a new one’ and said it would cost £1,200,” Mark stated.

“So that sort of spurred me on to finding another way.”

He purchased an “ordinary bike”, a seven-speed pink Cannondale Adventure 2, on-line and determined to transform it into an e-bike himself.

“So I started from scratch with a fresh bike and purchased a wheel with a hub motor on it,” Mark stated.

“It’s a pink ladies’ bike that’s un-stealable, or at least that’s how my wife describes it, but I cherish it a lot.

“I changed the wheel for this electric wheel and that gave me the ability to connect whatever battery I wanted.”

Mark had already been experimenting with vape batteries to make transportable energy banks and rechargeable lanterns.

Having efficiently managed to cost his iPhone 8 and musical gear with batteries recovered from disposable vapes collected from the gutter, he turned his consideration to an e-bike.

Over the previous yr, Mark has collected lots of of used vapes with the assistance of his son, an artwork pupil who was utilizing them for one among his initiatives.

“I tapped into my son’s collection and raided the lot,” he stated.

“There must have been 200 in total.

“Different vapes have got different-sized batteries, so they have to be matched.

“I chose the Elf Bar because that’s got quite a powerful battery and unfortunately (for the environment) I had about 100 of those.”

Mark hoped to check his “prototype” in personal as a result of he stated “you never know what’s going to happen”.

Mark took his 'prototype' e-bike for a test ride in Sevenoaks(Collect/PA Real Life)
Mark took his ‘prototype’ e-bike for a take a look at journey in Sevenoaks(Collect/PA Real Life) (PA)

After narrowly avoiding being questioned by a neighbour, he set off on his maiden voyage to Sevenoaks, a couple of miles away, on May 22.

“I snuck off and it was amazing, it felt like there was as much power as using one of my actual e-bike batteries,” Mark stated.

“It felt like a fresh bike.

“I went up to Sevenoaks and back again, which is quite a big hill.”

He was in a position to attain a pace of 15mph, the utmost pace an electrical bike can journey by legislation within the UK.

Mark credited his success to utilizing so many batteries and confused this can be a key security characteristic that ensures they aren’t being overworked.

“There’s 10 strands of batteries and each strand has got seven batteries, so it’s an array of 70 cells, so 70 vapes,” he stated.

“I think, because I used nine batteries per strand instead of just the one, it meant that it wasn’t putting too much stress on the batteries and they were able to provide power.

“That’s the secret to making it safe as well.”

Happy together with his working prototype, Mark is within the means of creating “stage two”, wherein he plans to purchase a correct casing for the batteries, so the wires usually are not protruding.

“Eventually the pack of batteries will be enclosed properly so you can’t accidentally cause a short circuit,” he stated.

Mark Hopgood came up with the idea earlier in 2024 after his electric bike broke down (Collect/PA Real Life)
Mark Hopgood got here up with the thought earlier in 2024 after his electrical bike broke down (Collect/PA Real Life) (PA)

Before constructing his e-bike Mark examined every of the 70 vape batteries individually in his backyard shed to ensure they might maintain cost.

By charging them up and draining them, he was in a position to decide how a lot energy they might maintain and ensure they have been the best spec.

“If the cell gets hot you know it’s not good, but I haven’t had that so far with these vapes, they are pretty good,” Mark stated.

As a security precaution, he used a low energy charger in a single day to make sure the batteries didn’t overheat.

“If you buy a commercial battery some of the features that they sell on is, how much power is in it? How quickly does it charge?

“When you are pushing towards the limit on those, it can fail, so my approach is over spec it, charge it slowly and don’t stress the batteries out too much.

“So I’m not in a rush.”

Mark is now toying with the thought of working workshops to show folks find out how to construct their very own e-bike safely utilizing outdated vape batteries.

“People are looking at e-bikes and want to get into them, but they’re spending a lot of money,” he stated.

“Convenience is king so a lot of people who want an e-bike just want to plug and go but other people might be interested in doing something different.

“So my thinking is, if I can wrap this up as a project and someone is interested in building one themselves, of maybe doing a workshop or something like that.

“Even if it just helps people understand how an e-bike or a battery works and then someone goes on to buy one and can fix it.

“Maybe what I’ve done can help them in some way.”

To discover out extra about Mark’s music go to: