Schaeffler Free Drive removes mechanical transmission from the bike

Schaeffler Free Drive removes mechanical transmission from the bike

German company Schaeffler has unveiled an innovative electric bike drive system that replaces traditional bike chains with an all-electric drivetrain.

The heart of the Schaeffler Free Drive system is a generator installed in the bicycle carriage. By rotating the pedals, the cyclist drives a generator that converts energy from mechanical to electrical. Electricity is transmitted through a wire to the rear wheel motor, where it is converted back into mechanical energy that propels the bike. The system also includes a battery and control circuitry. The interaction between the nodes is carried out via the CAN bus.

The generator can vary the pedaling resistance depending on the required or selected pedaling effort. If the cyclist pedals faster than necessary, generating excess energy, then it is stored in the battery. There is also a regenerative engine braking function, which also recharges the battery while driving.

The motor power is 250W, which is the limit for electric bicycle motors in Germany.

It is believed that the Free Drive system can be particularly attractive for electric cargo bicycles, especially three- or four-wheeled bicycles, where the use of traditional mechanical solutions complicates the design, making it more bulky and impractical.

In terms of efficiency, Schaeffler estimates that Free Drive is about 5% less than chain drive.

Schaeffler Free Drive removes mechanical transmission from the bike

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