Electrification of the Vehicle

Valeo Optimizes the E-Bike Drivetrain

16. Dezember 2020, 14:30 Uhr   |  Stefanie Eckardt

Valeo Optimizes the E-Bike Drivetrain
© Valeo

Valeo wants to expand into the markets for zero-emission mobility and is versing small e-vehicles for city centers such as e-bikes. The French company has developed a new electric assistance system for this purpose.

Valeo has adapted its 48V motors to bikes, resulting in the most high-performance electric assistance system for e-bikes. The Valeo Smart e-Bike System integrates both an electric motor and an adaptive automatic transmission in the pedal assembly.

Previously unavailable on the market, the Valeo technology developed in partnership with Effigear comprises a 48 V electric motor and a seven-speed automatic, adaptive gearbox in a single unit located in the pedal assembly, providing the best electric assistance for bikes to date. Given the motor’s torque of 130 Nm, 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, the electric assistance allows a cyclist carrying a 150 kg load to climb a 14 per cent gradient (the equivalent of a parking lot ramp) without breaking a sweat, whether moving forward or reversing. Valeo’s electric motor is also more efficient than the 24 or 36 V motors installed on the vast majority of e-bikes available today.

The adaptive automatic transmission, which is a world first for electric bikes, uses an algorithm to understand and instantly adjust to each person’s needs, taking into account their riding style and journey. The gears shift smoothly, with no buttons or levers needing to be pressed.

The Smart e-Bike System 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.

While historically bikes have systematically evolved through the addition of new components, Valeo started from scratch, developing a system that eliminates the need for many vulnerable bike parts. There is no longer any need for derailleurs, sprockets, handlebar shifters or the cables that go with them, or a traditional bike chain, which can now be replaced by a cleaner belt system. As a result, electric bikes can say goodbye to around 50 parts that are often fragile and require constant maintenance. On average, a traditional model needs to be serviced at least once a month, even if it’s just to tighten the chain, lubricate the chain and/or derailleurs, or put the chain back in place. With its technology, Valeo has therefore removed the weakest link in the electric bike: the chain.

Rather than build bikes, Valeo aims solely 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

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