Global automotive supplier Valeo has adapted its 48V motors to e-bikes. The company claims the Smart e-Bike System is the first solution in the world to integrate both an electric motor and an adaptive automatic transmission in the pedal assembly.
With this new electric assistance system, the bike adapts to the cyclist, and not the other way around. The gears change automatically and the system’s algorithms instantly adapt to the amount of electric assistance the cyclist needs right from the first pedal stroke.
The technology was designed and developed in France, at their Isle d’Abeau site in the Rhone-Alpes region. "We will eventually set up production lines based on where our bike manufacturer customers are building their bikes. This is one of the strengths of a group like Valeo, which has a worldwide manufacturing footprint," the company said.
Rather than build bikes, Valeo aims to equip them with its electric assistance solution. With this in mind, it has developed three prototypes to show how its solution can be adapted to all types of models: a city bike, a mountain bike and a cargo bike for transporting loads (featuring unique reversing and braking energy recovery functions). The innovation will be sold to bike manufacturers and they have decided to offer fully integrated solutions at the same price as existing systems.
Jacques Aschenbroich, Valeo chairman and chief executive officer, said, “One of Valeo’s key strategic focuses is accelerating its expansion in the emerging markets for new “zero-emissions” mobility, including electric small city vehicles, electric motorcycles and scooters, last-mile autonomous delivery droids and electric bikes. To do this, we are leveraging and adapting the technological platforms that we developed for the automotive industry – both those dedicated to ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) and to low-voltage electrification (48V).”
The technology developed in partnership with Effigear comprises a 48V electric motor and a seven-speed automatic, adaptive gearbox in a single unit located in the pedal assembly. Given the motor’s torque of 130 Newton meters, it can multiply the cyclist’s effort by eight, while other systems on the market offer up to a fivefold boost. Used on a cargo bike, Valeo’s electric assistance allows a cyclist carrying a 150kg load to climb a 14% gradient (the equivalent of a parking lot ramp) without breaking a sweat, whether moving forward or reversing.
The system also includes an anti-theft function integrated directly into the pedal assembly that, when activated, blocks the use of the bike. It also boasts a pedestrian push-assist function, which is particularly useful when carrying heavy loads, and a boost function that makes it easier to overtake other cyclists and climb hills.