MIT has come up with an interesting take on e-bikes, the Copenhagen wheel. http://ping.fm/gPqzr
– It’s a self-contained electric wheel that replaces your regular bike wheel
– ipod/iphone control of the motor
– no externally rechargeable battery (= lightweight)
– has regen braking, giving a bit of a boost upon taking off from a stop
– Has no externally rechargeable battery, so only helps a bit upon acceleration. Forget help on hills.
– probably expensive (though price unknown)
– will add weight to the bike
The iPhone/iPod control is neat. I had an idea of an iPod/iPhone control for any regular ebike about a year ago (via Bluetooth). Like a CycleAnalyst (http://ping.fm/KTXEx) on steroids. Just think about it… the iPod/iPhone have accelerometers in them. You could measure acceleration, power input vs output, efficiency, and a whole lot more. The iPhone also has a GPS. This would be the ultimate e-bike cycle computer. I’d like to implement this, but it will be a somewhat expensive project. Crowd funding, anyone? If you like this idea, drop me a line.
Now, back to the Copenhagen wheel… aside from the nifty iPod interface, I’m not clear on what the point is. MIT seems to have a great PR/Marketing machine for “inventions” like this, but would I use one? While I can’t say for sure until I get my hands on one, the preliminaries don’t sound like something of use to me.
I use my electric assist mainly for the hills, and to maintain a higher overall speed while commuting. I have no problem with acceleration after stops on my own leg power. So this wheel wouldn’t seem to gain much of anything for the way I ride.
I’m curious what you think. See you in the comments or on Twitter/Facebook/etc.