Electric Wheels—for Bikes
During a recent meeting we attended held by Robert Bosch in its North American headquarters in Farmington Hills, we learned about a variety of initiatives related to such things as Industry 4.0 and advances in automotive technology for automated solutions.
We also heard about something that we’d been unaware of: Bosch eBike. Yes, the company has established a business, with regional headquarters in Irvine, California, to support bicycle manufacturers with electric motors to supplement the riders’ pedaling. Top speed is on the order of 20 mph.
While there is a lot of talk about electric vehicles—here, and elsewhere—there is, apparently, a burgeoning interest for electric bicycles, which is leading to some innovative designs.
Like this, the Copenhagen Wheel, which actually has American roots as it was designed at MIT's SENSEable City Lab, and has been further developed by a company based in Cambridge, Superpedestrian, which holds an exclusive license to the wheel.
Inside that red housing are sensors, an electric motor, lithium-ion battery, and Bluetooth-enabled control system. Just as Bosch is putting digital addressability into its products, the Copenhagen Wheel can be paired with a smartphone, which allows the selection of rider-assistance modes as well as to lock the wheel when the bike is parked. Like hybrid and electric automobiles, the Copenhagen Wheel features regenerative braking.
The wheel has a price on the order of $1,200.
Another Cambridge-based company (clearly there is something about MIT and bikes), GeoOrbital, is offering preordering for its GeoOrbital wheel, which is expected to ship in February 2017.
Whereas the Copenhagen Wheel goes in the rear of a bike, the GeoOrbital wheel is engineered to replace the front wheel.
It includes a 36-v, 500-w brushless DC motor, 36-v, 10-Ah lithium-ion battery, an aluminum unibody, motor controller, and a flat-proof tire. It, too, features regenerative braking.
Depending on the model (there are two), the range without pedaling is 12 or 20 miles. Both offer a top speed of 20 miles per hour—without pedaling.
A preorder for the GeoOrbital wheel is $799.
The engineers at Munro & Associates have taken a perfectly sound BMW i3 and taken it apart. Completely apart. And they are impressed with what they’ve discovered about how the EV is engineered.
The Mazda CX-5 first appeared on the scene in 2012, and for 2017, the vehicle has undergone some major transformations, to enhance what was already a notable small crossover.
The 2016 model is all-new. As in platform and everything else. And the platform—which will have global use—was developed in North America.