The motorless electric bike, well not quite, but close. “Lightweight,” a manufacturer of high quality carbon fibre bicycle wheels and components has been working on a first of a kind electric bike, the Velocité, in which the wheel and frame act as the motor as opposed to attaching an electric motor to the transmission, (bottom bracket or hub), found on all other electric bikes. Lightweight has taken the linear technology of the Mag-Lev propulsion system found on mass transit Mag-Lev trains and incorporated it into the circular vector of the rear wheel of a bicycle.
This greatly reduces the excessive weight enabling the bike to accelerate much faster than typical e-bikes, up to a company estimated top speed of a 100 kph, (62mph).
The company has fastened dozens of permanent magnets to the rear wheel while incorporating inductive coils into a flange which wraps around the rear wheel. During normal pedaling power the magnets and coils act as a generator storing power in a battery for later use. Additionally the push-pull technology of the magnets and coils becomes a powerful regenerative braking system upon flipping the polarity.
Lightweight calls this “Maglev Transrapid technology” and asserts that their Velocité ebike will produce 500 watts of power for assistance to the rider upon activation.
The greatest advantage of the Velocité over existing ebikes is the elimination of a transmission. The power goes directly from the battery, located in the tube, to the wheel and the road. This results in no loss of power which occurs in common electric motors that move power through gears. The Velocité is an extremely efficient machine compared to all others of its kind.
The Electric Bike of the 21st Century, GeoOrbital, has got some serious competition.
Lightweight’s Velocité ebike has yet to hit the market but no doubt there are enthusiasts eagerly waiting to get their hands on this urban blazer as soon as it becomes available. Once the kinks have been worked out one can imagine that this magnetic propulsion system will become the industry standard in the years to come.