Schaeffler presents chainless electric drive system for bicycles
At Eurobike 2021 in Friedrichshafen, the automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler will be presenting the new “bike-by-wire” system, Free Drive, as an innovative solution for bicycles. The chainless drive system is a joint development with two-wheel electric drive specialist Heinzmann GmbH & Co. KG, which dispenses with the mechanical connection between the generator and motor, thus enabling completely new bicycle architectures and pedal configurations combined with an even lower requirement for wear parts.
“The development is proof of our transformation into a leading supplier of electrified drives. Our decades of expertise in the field of vehicle mechatronics, which we are now also transferring to the two-wheel segment, have assisted us in this development. The e-bike market is growing steadily and offers Schaeffler, as e-mobility partner, further business potential,” said Matthias Zink, CEO Automotive Technologies, Schaeffler AG.
The central component of the Free Drive system is the Schaeffler generator, which sets the constant resistance on the pedal while simultaneously absorbing the rider’s pedaling power. The regenerative solution is a serial hybrid drive that converts the mechanical energy generated during pedaling into electric energy, which in turn is converted back into mechanical energy in the wheel hub motor. Excess energy is stored in the battery. As with cars, all system components communicate with each other via a CAN connection. The complete, optimally matched system sold by Heinzmann GmbH & Co. KG, which generates a continuous output of 250 watts, consists of a pedal generator, drive motor, battery powerpack, and human-machine interface (HMI).
The compact dimensions of the Free Drive system permit a standard distance of 138 millimeters between the two pedals. The Free Drive system can be specified for various applications, irrespective of the manufacturer.