Ford tips F1 technology into elegant E-Bike concept

Automotive manufacturers often use the media glare surrounding events like the International Motor Show in Frankfurt to showcase concept vehicles never intended for production. Such models are created to highlight cutting edge design or brand new technology. This year Ford unveiled an urban mobility concept that uniquely marries Formula One sensing technology with a two-wheeled pedelec bike. The E-Bike design also sees the electric assist motor positioned at the front and cabling hidden within the graceful lines of the lightweight trapezoidal frame.

Ford’s concept piece is not the first time we’ve seen Formula One technology transferred to an electric bike, but where M55’s Terminus production e-bikes concentrated on giving its models F1 stopping power, Ford’s Design team led by Martin Smith – in partnership with cyber-Wear – equipped the E-Bike with patented magnetostriction sensor technology.

Magnetostrictive materials are used to convert magnetic energy into kinetic energy, and vice versa,” says Ford. “In Formula One, these sensors help handle high engine revolutions in combination with intense thermal strains. They need no physical contact with other parts of the engine, are temperature-independent and are completely maintenance-free.”

The sensors used in the E-Bike monitor the revolutions of the inner bearing and send on the information to a control unit within a hundredth of a second. The control unit uses this data to decide in an instant when best to activate or deactivate the electric motor housed in the bike’s front wheel hub to provide power assist to the rider. A handlebar-mounted readout display allows the rider to select from three support modes – Economy, Comfort and Sport – as well as providing trip information.

The onboard 340Wh/36V/9.3Ah lithium-ion battery with integrated controller is said to offer up to 85 km (52.8 miles) range between charges, depending on drive power and support mode selected, and reaches 80 percent capacity after 2 hours connected to the mains and full charge after 3-4 hours. The charging unit is small enough to remain on the bike and is designed to prevent overcharging, undervolting, overheating and shortcircuit.

Ford says that the unisex frame is made from aluminum and carbon and weighs just 2.5 kg (5.51 pounds), there’s V-design Mavic Elipse aluminum 6-spoke wheels with Continental Ultra Sport tires, custom-made handlebars, a Giant SLR Carbon stem, Avid Elixir 5, full hydraulic brakes and a Selle Italia SLR XC saddle. Completing the bicycle part of the specs are Shimano Alfine 11-speed internal gear hub, 2012 Shimano Rapidfire shifter, Wellgo LU-C27G pedals and a Carbon Belt Drive System to replace the oily chain.

At least with this e-bike there are no nasty pricing shocks, as the Ford E-Bike is not going to be made commercially available – it was created as a demonstration of the technologies involved.

The remainder of the technical specifications are shown below:

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Good news for region’s trains – new invention

Bike Stands - Day 12 of Project 365

Image by purplemattfish via Flickr

It’s good news for commuters – as a Dales station has been kitted out with a revolutionary new invention.

Plus, one of the region’s railway lines has been nominated for a prestigious award.

As part of improvements at 29 stations in the East Midlands, Whatstandwell station has seen three new Streetpods introduced

The Streetpod is the latest in revolutionary cycle storage design. The invention provides bike protection in public location and open spaces, with the ability to secure the bike frame and both wheels with a single lock. 200 of the devices have been introduced at stations across the East Midlands.

David Horne of East Midlands Trains said: “Not all commuters are able to cycle directly to work, but many might be able to travel part of the way by bike.

“We believe by providing an additional 200 highly secure cycling spaces, we will encourage more people to cut down on their reliance on cars and consider alternative methods of transport when travelling to and from our stations.

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A Bike That Uses Its Brakes for a Speed Boost (and Other Student Engineer Inventions)

For more than 150 years New York City’s Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (more commonly called The Cooper Union) has finished its school years with an annual event  showcasing student projects in the areas of art, architecture and engineering.

Of the more than 300 projects on display this year were several inventions designed and built by students demonstrating a firm grasp of what society will want and need from technology moving forward.

Such inventions included a bicycle that features a flywheel, a wave energy converter and a mobile mini-robot.

The school awarded its Nicholas Stefano Prize for an outstanding mechanical engineering senior project to Maxwell von Stein for his flywheel bicycle. The bike (see the video below) uses a spinning flywheel to recover energy lost during braking so it can be later reclaimed to boost speed. A flywheel can temporarily store the kinetic energy from the bicycle when the rider needs to slow down, according to von Stein. The energy stored in the flywheel can be used to bring the cyclist back up to cruising speed. In this way the cyclist recovers the energy normally lost during braking. In addition to increased energy efficiency, the flywheel-equipped bicycle is more fun to ride since the rider has the ability to boost speed, he adds.

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