Front-page of the The Times of India, on Oct. 6, 2017
Photo: Power for All

Billionaire puts electricity access on front page of top India newspapers

Manoj Bhargava, the Indian-American billionaire, philanthropist and creator of 5-hour Energy, took out front-page ads in all of India’s top national newspapers on Oct. 6, offering “Free Electricity” from distributed renewable energy. Through the Billions in Change initiative, the native of Uttar Pradesh is advertising portable solar lighting as well as phone charging solutions. It also offers a pedal-powered hybrid bicycle, which drives a flywheel system that turns a generator, which charges a battery pack.

Although the advertising promises free power, the products are actually for sale. The powerpack is on sale for $220, with a 10% down payment.

In 2015, Bhargava pledged 99% of his net worth to improving the well-being of the world’s less fortunate.

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