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.
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"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:
- Front wheel hub motor
- Max. nominal power: 350W
- Electricity: 36V - 250W
- Supports up to 25 kph/15.5 mph (to EN 15194)
- Clutch with freewheel function
- Gearbox: Planet gears
- Integral sensor technology
Controller display functions:
- Background lighting with light sensor system
- Energy-saving automatic sleep mode
- Diagnosis function with fault code display
- Support modes: Economy, Comfort, Sport
- Displays: Range, Battery capacity, Speed, Time, Distance, Maximum speed, Average speed, Total distance, Service reminder, System diagnosis, Support modes
- iPhone Smartphone app control function planned