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E-bike: Applying modern technology to urban mobility with low impact to the environment, Part 1

The advantages of cycling sport activity are well known: riding a bicycle allows the oxygenation of the blood of the rider. This type of aerobic training allows the rider to burn many calories, lose weight, and make the heart and the lungs stronger. The more frequently this sport activity is practiced, the more effective the positive results will be. Electronics technology is a perfect solution to make the cycling activity easier because, when an electric motor is integrated into the bike it produces a power proportional to the dynamic power produced by the biker.

This is the reason why a new e-bike solution, the QiCycle , has recently been introduced in the Chinese market to guarantee, among the possible applications of this electronic bike, the easy mobility of the workers inside the urban environment (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

The Xiaomi QiCycle R1 Black (Source: Xiaomi)

The Xiaomi QiCycle R1 Black (Source: Xiaomi)

Xiaomi has launched a new Smart Bike in China called QiCycle, which is a foldable electric bike to make commuting easier. The QiCycle is priced at Yuan 2,999, which comes to around Rs 30,699.

QiCycle has an integrated electric motor, which can be used for propulsion. The bike is powered by 250W-36V electric motor, and uses Torque Measurement Method (TMM) to assist the rider’s pedal-power.

It comes with Shimano Gear Shifters to let users switch gears based on the terrain. It also has a bike computer display to show all the fitness-related parameters such as calories burned, distance traveled, speed, etc.” (Source: THE INDIAN EXPRESS)

Moreover the e-bike solution for the management of massive urban traffic is a low impact setup for the environment because the e-bikes don’t produce discharge gasses that contribute to the pollution of the air, especially in big cities, which have a lot of vehicles producing smog emissions. This fact is confirmed by research from the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley:

China’s rapid economic growth and transition to a market economy has caused an increased demand for travel in most Chinese cities. Much of this new demand is met by various motorized modes, particularly public transportation and personal automobiles for those who can afford them. Still, a very high proportion of trips are made by un-motorized or semi motorized modes. One mode of transportation that has indigenously developed in China is the electric bike. Electric bikes provide higher mobility and range than traditional bicycles and flexibility that cannot be found with public transportation modes .” (Source: ITS Berkeley)

The reduction of the pollution levels is a really valuable aspect of the e-bike solution and, hence, the e-bike contributes to the environment preservation directly, by daily physical training, and indirectly, by the reduction of pollution to the urban environment.

The contribution of electronics to this type of solution is enormous as it is shown in the schematic diagram below. (see Figure 2)

Figure 2

An electric schematic of a BLDC motor controller for the Chinese e-bike. 
This solution includes ICs like power MOSFETs, microcontrollers, and is compatible with motor HALL sensors or sensorless operation (Source: avdweb)

An electric schematic of a BLDC motor controller for the Chinese e-bike. This solution includes ICs like power MOSFETs, microcontrollers, and is compatible with motor HALL sensors or sensorless operation (Source: avdweb)

Click here for an enlarged image and scroll down to the schematic, then click in it to enlarge.

In the second part of this blog series, I will further describe the strengths and the potential applying electronics technology to the e-bike solution, which is a really promising example of an application of electronic technology to the improvement of environmental control and the enhancement of human health by means of a light and daily sport activity, perfectly compatible with the needs of workers, who reach their workplaces every working day via bicycle.

Please share your thoughts and knowledge on this technology with our audience for discussion.

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