All in one e-bikes, innovation first!
The e-bike world has been rapidly growing even due to the new consumers’ needs: sustainable commuting, alternative to public transport, technology and innovation, design, performance and low weight. The goal of manufacturers is to meet the demand, creating e-bikes which perform well and look as much as possible as traditional bicycles. The latest trend matching this demand is right the development of all in one e-bikes, “hiding” everything needed to electrify the bicycle in the hub of the wheel.
There are different types of all in one e-bike kits, more or less advanced, more or less complex.
Some of them can be mounted by the cyclist himself, others need the expertise of manufacturers. The most innovative projects include regenerative braking, the kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) adopted from the automotive industry.
We have to admit that all-in-one technologies might not yet reach the same performances of e-bikes with external battery, however they represent an interesting option for those who are looking for pedal assistance, good design and lightweight electric bicycles.
Innovation is the key element of all in one e-bikes and most interesting projects start from Universities.
All in one e-bikes, what's on
It is perhaps the world’s best known, with the MIT in the background and the high media coverage. However it has not been launched on the market yet, it seems that pre-sales are only possible. Its advantage is the easy installation and the disadvantage the weight of the kit, which is around 6 kg.
This is another interesting start up project, actually in crowdfunding phase, also in this case addressed to final consumers who will be able to electrify their bicycle. Add-E has a key advantage vs. Copenhagen Wheel: the declared weight of the kit is much lower, around 1 kg.
It is currently the only all-in-one technology already available on the market and, probably, the most advanced from the technological point of view, as it includes the regenerative braking system. ZeHus an Italian idea born from a spin-off of the Milan Politecnico University. The rear hub hosts motor, battery, sensors, control unit and Bluetooth interface.
The ZeHus hub measures the power supply following the strength of the cyclist and the degree of assistance needed.
The weight is below 3 kg and the all-in-one e-bike is controlled via a smartphone. With different modes available, there is also the possibility to balance the battery consumption using the pedal assistance only when major effort is required, at the start or when pedalling uphill.
In addition, the Bike+ hub does not interfere with the design and look of the e-bike and allow quite interesting performances, in particular because when used with the energy recovery mode it has an infinite autonomy. The rechargeable all in one e-bike is most probably the most attractive technology currently available. Different manufacturers have invested in this challenge to traditional e-bikes.
In summary, while Copenhagen Wheel and Add-E are do it yourself kits addressed to end users, Bike+ is intended for electric bicycles manufacturers. The final cost of the three all-in-one technologies are quite similar, the difference will be influenced by the bicycle brand and components.