5-Hour Energy Creator Says He Has More Money Than He Needs. This Is What He's Doing About It

October 9, 2015

Manoj Bhargava, the creator of 5-hour Energy, wants to power the world's homes - with bikes.

eletric bikes to power homes
PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL SHEPPARD

Bhargava has built a stationary bike to power the millions of homes worldwide that have little or zero electricity. Early next year in India, he plans to distribute 10,000 of his Free Electric battery-equipped bikes, which he says will keep lights and basic appliances going for an entire day with one hour of pedaling.

"It's so simple that we think we can make it for $100 … A bicycle repairman anywhere can fix it," Bhargava says in an interview. Pedaling turns a turbine generator that creates electricity, stored in a battery.

This is part of Bhargava's quest to solve the world's biggest problems. To do so, he has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth.

"If you have wealth, it's a duty to help those who don't," says the 62 year-old Michigan resident in a documentary released Monday, Billions in Change, about his Stage 2 Innovations lab. "Make a difference in people's lives," he says, "Don't just talk about it."

Along with free electricity, Bhargava has invested in three other practical inventions so far:

  • The Rain Maker, able to convert 1,000 gallons an hour of any existing water - including sea water or polluted water - into water suitable for drinking and agriculture.
  • 2. Renew ECP, a medical device called that promotes good blood flow, one of the basic foundations of wellness.
  • 3. A plan for geothermal energy, using a graphene cord, that will replace 85 percent of today's fossil fuels.

Bhargava sees the most immediate potential in free electric.

"This is going to affect a few billion people."

Bhargava grew up in India, but his family came to the United States when he was 14. He worked odd jobs and got academic scholarships. He attended Princeton for a year before dropping out because he was bored.

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