Electric Bike Innovations from France, USA, and China

Easy E-Biking - Gboost e-bike conversion kit, helping to make electric biking practical and fun

Gboost: turn your traditional bicycle into an electric one

The Grenoble-based start-up eBikelite has developed a kit that allows you to transform your traditional bicycle into an electrically assisted one.

eBikelite has created Gboost, a kit that allows you to install an electric motor on your traditional bicycle that, otherwise, would only move forward powered by the strength of your legs. At this moment, it is impossible to say that this kit can be installed on 100% of traditional bicycles, but the vast majority of bicycles are compatible. And the start-up says it’s ingenious enough to find a solution for you if you can’t fix the motor yourself. 

The motor is installed just below the pedal section.  When rotating, it touches the tire when the electric assistance is engaged. The motor is engaged and disengaged by a small joystick attached to the handlebar if you don’t need any electric assistance. 

The battery is attached to the frame, ideally in place of the bottle holder using the screws and holes already in place. Alternatively, the battery can be attached anywhere on the frame with clamps. Then the battery is connected to the motor by an electric cable. The battery exists in two versions: one that allows you to travel up to 40 km on flat ground at 25 km/h and another that goes up to 60 km. But if you drive in the mountains, your distance will be shorter!

There are 5 levels of electrical assistance and you go from one to the other via a small control box fixed on the handlebar and connected to the motor by a cable.

Here is a short video on how to install Gboost ultralight silent e-bike motor in minutes, no special tools needed.

And a link to the Gboost bike website, if you would like to know more.

A kit to transform your bike…. into an electric bike

Created in June 2018, “A fond Gaston” has developed a kit to transform a classical bicycle into an electric one. It is a reversible, lighter and, above all, a more economical solution than a new electric bicycle, according to Antoine Galonnier, the founder of “A fond Gaston”.

What is the idea behind “A fond Gaston”?

The aim was to convert, as a turnkey solution, any classic bike into an electric bike, thanks to an electric kit. This kit should be adapted even to folding bikes or bicycles for kids. 

Today, electric bicycles are available at all prices, from 500 to 10,000 euros. The problem with models under 1,000 euros is their weight, which is often around 30 kilos. Their performance, as well as their lifespan, is limited. Such e-bikes have problems climbing hills of more than 5-6%. 

For lighter bicycles, which would weigh 22 to 25 kilos (which is still heavy), the price will be around 2,000 euro mark. And this is already not a small amount for an e-bike! 

What is the difference between cheap and expensive e-bikes? Read more in this post.

Considering that a conventional bicycle weighs about 12 kilos, the question was to create a lighter model, which, with the installation of an electric kit, would cost not more than 1,000 euros, excluding the cost of the bike itself. 

The answer is yes. There are now two models: the first model has a range of 40 km and costs 800 euros and the second model has a range of 80 km and costs 1,000 euros.

How does this conversion kit work?

This is a kit based on a rear motorized wheel, which adds four kilos to the weight of a bike (with a battery for 40 kilometers) and five kilos (for 80 kilometers of autonomy) respectively. That is an average total weight of a converted e-bike of around 16-17 kilos. 

Without the battery, the excess weight is only two kilos. Finally, the electrical kit is modular; each component can be changed independently, as the assembly has been designed to be easily repaired. Its installation is also completely reversible, so you can take off the kit and ride your bike like a traditional one.

Who are these conversion kits for?

Originally, the target was those, who have chosen to cycle to work, especially those who are still reluctant to do so every day. The innovation can also be of interest to all those who do not want to depend on specific manufacturers of e-bikes. 

There are already lots of traditional bicycles on the market. Why not simply convert them to electric bicycles and use this new technology, rather than buy new ones and keeping the old ones that are still usable?

Is it possible to install the conversion kit alone, at home?

This is technically feasible, but the company also does the installation of the equipment, for which it charges 100 euros (included in the price). The installation takes about four hours, which is a significant time spent to do this at home.

For some models of traditional bikes, the installation may require additional work on the frame or pedal section. This is not to mention the installation of the rear wheel motor, which could also be quite complex. 

At the end a converted e-bike has similar characteristics as a new e-bicycle, which sells for around 2,000 euros. This is done at half the price, with a two-year guarantee. And the order is delivered within seven days of receiving the bike from the customer. 

Here is a link to “A fond Gaston” website (in French) if you are interested to learn more.

E-bike motor recovers energy when braking

Grin Technologies, in collaboration with MAC Motor, has developed a new type of motor for electric bicycles. It is a combination of a crankset motor and a motor in the wheel, which allows the energy from braking to be recovered and reused. This results in a lighter, more efficient and more resistant e-bike model. 

This technological innovation represents a huge leap forward in the field of electric bicycles, which would be a better option in the city than the electric car.

Mid-drive motor or rear/front-wheel motor?

When you want to buy an electric bike, this question arises: which motor to choose between the bottom bracket (or mid-drive) motor and the motor in the wheel (front or rear one)? 

The first type is usually lighter, offers more effective assistance and is usually more resistant. The latter, however, usually offers more power. Some models incorporate energy regeneration, a system that recovers the energy lost during braking.

Still limited, regeneration allows a 5% increase in autonomy in urban areas. However, the design of these engines is still less reliable. They require more maintenance and are less resistant over time.

A powerful electric motor that integrates regeneration

Vancouver-based electric bicycle parts manufacturer Grin Technologies has partnered with Chinese manufacturer MAC Motor to develop the GMAC, a hub motor – for rear wheels – that combines the advantages of the two main types of engines.

Unlike conventional wheel motors, the design of this one makes it much lighter and extremely durable.

The GMAC requires much less maintenance and improves vehicle handling. In addition, it is able to immobilize the electric bicycle without using its brakes, thus saving on maintenance. And of course, it includes energy regeneration.

The GMAC therefore offers excellent performance and a leap forward in the electric bicycle industry. However, as this is a novelty that includes development costs, it is not cheap. This new generation hub engine now sells at $475.

Here is a short video, explaining the innovation of the GMAC e-bike motor:

An autonomous electric bicycle with a revolutionary chip

Chinese researchers recently presented a completely new electric bicycle concept. It is an autonomous e-bike with a special voice-activated chip. Thanks to this chip, the electric bicycle is able to perform amazing actions such as following its owner or responding to voice instructions.

Deep tech e-cycling innovation

Luping Shi and his team of researchers at Tsinghua University (China) have developed an intelligent bicycle. As explained in their publication in the Nature journal, this is an autonomous electric bicycle. This e-bicycle is able to maintain its own balance, respond to voice commands and detect obstacles in its path.

This bike is a real concentration of technologies. Indeed, it is equipped with several cameras and microphones but also with a gyroscope. In addition to a battery, the bike also incorporates several motors to control the wheels and its speed. 

However, at the moment, this e-bike model is only a showcase to demonstrate the performance of its main part, namely its chip! 

A revolutionary chip?

Named Tianjic, the chip in question acts as a brain for the bicycle. A specific algorithm is applied for each different task. These algorithms operate in parallel to help with decision-making, real-time obstacle detection, speed control, etc. 

In total, no less than 40,000 neurons and 10 million synapses make up this kind of central brain! Just as surprising, this chip with a surface area of only 3.8 × 3.8 mm2 offers a throughput rate up to 100 times higher than traditional chips. 

In addition, researchers report a tenfold increase in energy efficiency.

The main interest of this chip is undoubtedly its ability to effectively integrate variables into its own environment, which gives it very surprising adaptability. These variables include everything related to road traffic, ambient noise, monitoring humans and obstacles, and learning new languages. 

The creators of this Tianjic chip believe that it could be integrated with intelligent robots and autonomous vehicles.

Here is a quick video to showcase performance of an e-bike, equipped with the Tianjic chip:

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