Urban Transport

Green Wheel - 3 in 1 wireless electric bicycle hub motor

Green Wheel - 3 in 1 wireless ...
MIT's enclosed GreenWheel system
MIT's enclosed GreenWheel system
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MIT's enclosed GreenWheel system
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MIT's enclosed GreenWheel system

February 24, 2009 A fully self contained bicycle hub motor known as the GreenWheel has been developed by students at MIT that contains the motor, batteries and motor controller all within the hub enclosure. Very similar in concept to the E+ we reported on earlier this week (which we have been informed by a reader is a reincarnation of a Wavecrest Electric bike), but taken one step further by combining the batteries together with the motor in a single hub instead of putting the batteries in the front hub and motor/controller in the rear hub as on the E+.

The only external part of the GreenWheel system is the handlebar-mounted throttle that is connected wirelessly to the electric motor in the wheel, so absolutely now external wiring is required along the bike frame. The hub motor is spoked into a standard bicycle wheel and is powered by Lithium ion Nanophosphate batteries supplied by another MIT firm A123 Systems.

The potential advantage of this enclosed system is that if you want to give your bike an electric boost, you only need to change the wheel, not purchase a whole new steed.

No details on motor power output or battery capacity have been made available but range is expected to be an estimated 25 miles (40 km). Pedaling the bike doubles the range under electric power provided the rider isn't traveling at the nearly top speed of 30 miles an hour (48 kmh). The bike can be charged by pedaling or by plugging it into the electric grid. A123 batteries can be fully charged in only 10-15 mins.

Both front, rear or both wheels on any bicycle can be powered with a GreenWheel and the team estimates its range at 40,000 miles (64,000 km), or about eight years work of travel at an estimated 20 miles (32 km) per business day.

Paul Evans

Via Treehugger via Discovery Channel.

19 comments
ELV
Very cool packaging challenge, especially if it can be done without too great of a weight, performance, durability and price hit.
sutski123
So to recharge at work/home you need to take off the dirty chain and carry the whole wheel assembly up with you ?? Not very practical....
robinyatesuk2003
I am amazed how the realisation that oil is finite, has caused a literal explosion of new technology,,,,,,,,it is a pity we could not have realised this 50 years ago but of course the oil barons ruled the roost then
Facebook User
sutski123, if there isn\'t a power point near your bike park make sure you take the front wheel option mentioned. Its a much easier and cleaner replace and refit process than the greasy chain option you mentioned. Now how much will it cost ?
Peter Coulson
Out of interest how long does a full charge last if you pedal as well. 50K 100K 200k?
TogetherinParis
Copenhagen Wheel?
Adam French
I love the concept - can\'t wait to see solutions thermal management.
Matte
It looks neat, but its a load of crap to me because the article won\'t tell how much it is, or where to get it. I\'m interested in electric bikes, but most of them are either 200lb pigs, or $5000. BS! Buy a gas bike. And there is plenty of oil if we quit letting useless eaters burn it!
ChelsC
Cool comments here guys.... Gette Bikes in Australia solve a lot of these challenges though. Check it out www.gettebikes.com
waltinseattle
While some may think packaging is important, neatness, all in one and all that....I have a question. What hsappens when some pidling part fails? Do ya get to repurchase the whole farm? I think the less sleek but owner friendly setarate components is a better strategy and have sworn to only build that way. That allows mass lead battery packs today and light high tech when its afordable to more consumers. Its also more amenable to 3rd world consumers who may have to make do in more ways than our well codled \"take it to the shop\" elites are. Well, anyway, there are also issues imbeded in that like the durability of having the motor \"shafts\" and the road hazards \"axle\" be the same pieces. Want to regularly take apart and degrit yours???

I must thank you, ChelC, for the links to Gette Bikes from Down under. This is the superior approach from an engineering perspective. The motor is at the same rpm as the crank you pedal. The cadence is what we love to keep constant, and the speed is determined by the gears, not how fast we can spin the cranks. The motor finds this most efficient also and both motors are happiest with this marriage of their efforts. Batteries have endorsed it my lasting longer without those extremes of amperage found with hubmotors. I just wish Gette had more than about 1/4 hp. Not that it does not double my aging output, but work bikes could use much more and stay reasonably slow...lane...alternatives....For the home tinker, a neat game might be adapting the gearmotors feom wheelchairs. I wonce saw the whole chair- batteries, charges, 2 motors and the rest- for $100 at the local donated goods store. Unfortunately I had no idea of how to use the motors and passed.
Personally my mission is to increase pedal vehicles my getting people out of cars who would not consider returning to diamond framed 2 wheelers, by getting them out of cars and INTO ...2 and 3 seaters even!
low kinetic human hybrid.com