E-bikes are charting the future of urban mobility. With cities growing at a dramatic pace the world over, it is but obvious that urban commute needs an absolute revamp with a double whammy – healthy lifestyle and easy travel. In a three-part series, this blogger takes you through the e-bike giant and interesting technologies driving this future vehicle.
Cities are growing magnanimously, today housing nothing less than 53% of the world’s population. A report by Arthur D. Little states that by 2050, at least 67% of the world’s population is going to constitute city dwellers. With urbanization growing at this quick a pace, urban mobility is an infrastructure challenge that needs to be addressed from now.
The coming age of E-bikes
The Consumer Electrics Show 2015 highlighted the growing need for urban commute-friendly vehicles. And the spotlight showed strongly on the e-bike. Nothing more than a bicycle attached with a motor, batteries and a control system, the e-bike is radically changing the way we commute. It is growing into a popular alternative to cars for city commute in Europe and is catching up in North America as well. It is but obvious that the popularity of e-bikes is projected to grow as cities get more clogged and traveling in cars becomes difficult.
E-bikes have many benefits over cars in short city commutes, and they take away the downfalls of a normal bicycle. An E-bike motor assists the rider in riding the bike by taking a percentage of peddling loads making riding comfortable, fast, and tackling steep terrain. This offers a double whammy of a healthy lifestyle without the exhaustion of pedaling – and all this in an eco-friendly manner. Also, E-bikes have much smaller profile than regular cars, giving the rider a traffic free travel experience with ample options to park.
Who’s making the e-bike?
Decathlon, Optibike, Robert Bosch and Brompton are the leading manufacturers of this future device of urban mobility. Alongside are auto giants like Yamaha, GM, Ford and Honda that are testing this market. However, the rising star in the e-bike market is Robert Bosch – a leading manufacturer of e-bike systems in Europe and with a marked presence in North America.
Bosch displayed its e-bike system at the CES 2015. What caught my attention was its elegance. The system can be strapped onto any bicycle with minor modifications and zap! it converts into an e-bike. Bosch is targeting to sell this system to bicycle manufacturers who can then use the system in their E-bike products.
Bosch has about 37 patent families ranging from drive systems to batteries to braking systems in e-bike technology. Most of the patents are filed in Germany and have corresponding PCT filings and European Patents. The company has filed a few patents in U.S., China, Taiwan and Japan too. The earliest patents were filed in 2009 and there are several filings found till 2014 indicating its continued research in this segment. Bosch’s patent WO2012025444 describes an n interesting drive unit technology in the e-bike system.
Bosch’s e-bike system is one among a whole range of cool e-bike manufacturers from across the world. Many of them showcased interesting technologies at the CES 2015. Their prominent presence at the CES predicts that e-bikes are going to be an important aspect of our day to day commute in the near future. More on these technologies in part 2 of this series.
(Featured image source: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Ebike-Electric-Bicycle-Bike-Park-668794)