Monday, 23 January 2017

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Self-Charging Folding E-Bike from Vello

Self-Charging Folding E-Bike

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Folding bikes? Yes, seen a variety of those. E-Bikes? Yes, seen an increasing number of those too. So, what’s different?

A self-charging e-bike, that’s a new one on me. It also comes in a 12kg, which is on the light side for a folding bike, and on the very light side for an e-bike, folding or otherwise.

Here’s what award-winning designer Valentin Vodev has to say about the model: "I wanted to create the best-ever electric folding bike with a ground-breaking new technology. It’s the first self-charging electric folding bike on the market, plus lighter and more compact than any other folding bike on the market. Many of the innovations on the VELLO BIKE+ have been developed ground up and can be considered revolutionary in the bike industry. A self-locking magnet allows hands-free folding, which makes it very different from a typical folding bike with complicated hinges to open. They don’t tend to be very user-friendly as the folding process is lengthy and can be frustrating. Riding performance was also essential to us in the development of the VELLO BIKE+, it feels and rides better than most of the existing folding bikes on the market.”

The biggest breakthrough is the fact that the bike can be recharged 100% while riding meaning riders should never run out of energy and never need to dismantle the battery to charge.

vello self charging ebike foldedThe energy with this new system is harvested as before by braking and pedaling, just that it now also converts mechanical energy into electrical energy thanks to the Integrated Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). In that way, additional energy is released to recharge the light integrated lithium-ion battery. Through this new technology, VELLO BIKE+ all-in-one changes the motor map automatically and continuously in order to keep the battery charged. The motor assistance and the cutoff speed both depend on the battery charge, the input from the pedals (speed-torque) and the road slope.

The VELLO Bike+ is electrically-assisted when riders want it to be. Unlike many electric bikes, it is still easy to pedal even with the power assistance turned off. Users can ride up to 15 miles per hour (25 km/hour) for up to 20 miles (~35 km) on a full charge without any effort. As soon as pedaling stops, the motor will stop pushing. The generated power depends on several factors including the bike speed, the pedaling speed, the road slope and the selected power mode.

The design is based around a 250W BLDC motor with regenerative braking, which is up to 90% efficient; this is controlled using multiple hybrid sensors utilising 100hz vehicle control, linked to the “Vehicle Control Unit” with Bluetooth smartphone control through bitride.

As an added feature, VELLO is also including a free app where users can set the level of pedal assistance, track their route and even lock their bike remotely.

VELLO BIKE is a pioneering lifestyle brand specializing in the design of innovative mobility products. With more than a decade of experience in designing and overseeing production processes for bicycles, baby carriages and electric mopeds as services to third parties, the co-founder and award-winning product designer took the next big leap by starting his own company together with the entrepreneurial guru, Valerie Wolff. The company was officially founded in 2014 after a first successful Kickstarter campaign.

They are already 25% over their funding target on their latest Kickstarter campaign, for this e-bike version of their original folding bike, with another 34 days to go. They have already reached two funding milestones to “unlock” first of all internal gears and then, secondly, a titanium frame which brings the weight down to 10.9 kg. Their timeline indicates shipments in April 2017.

Only a few years ago, the cycling world was convinced that regenerative braking could only extend an ebike’s range by around 10% and it appeared that self-charging ebikes would remain in the world of fantasty, which make their claims significant. The company explains that it also uses mechanical energy to boost the electrical energy stored via their Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), thus supplying additional energy to recharge the light lithium-ion battery. They monitor and adjust the motor map continuously in order to keep the battery charged.

“You can ride up to 15 miles per hour (25kph) for up to 20 miles (c 35km) on a full charge without any effort. As soon as you stop pedalling, the motor will stop pushing. The generated power depends on several factors including the bike speed, the pedalling speed, the road slope and the selected power mode.” Doesn’t this somewhat contradict the claim that the VELLO “allows up to 100% recharging while riding the bike”? 

 

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