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Continental eBike System entering production in Q4

24 July 2014

Continental’s eBike System will enter production in the fourth quarter of 2014 and will be on display at the Eurobike trade fair from 27-30 August; the company had presented a prototype of the system at the Eurobike trade fair in 2013. The complete drive system, with a mid-mounted motor, display, remote and battery, powers e-bikes and pedelecs. The company will also present its service concept for manufacturers and dealers, as well as the optimized Conti Drive System. (Earlier post.)

Conti
Conti eBike System at a glance: Display, integrated control unit in the left handle, Motor, battery (downtube and carrier variants). Click to enlarge.

Continental is positioning the system in the premium segment.

In recent months we have had many conversations with manufacturers and optimized the system for what the market wants. The display now has higher resolution; the design of the motor housing and frame mount were adapted. This now makes the motor look even better on the frame and makes it more stable at the same time. The reworked battery management ensures better operational safety and is more energy efficient.

—Regina Arning, industry segment leader at the ContiTech Power Transmission Group

After successful sampling by the manufacturers, production will start in the fourth quarter of 2014. The first models will be available from specialist dealers starting in spring 2015.

Continental will also be offering comprehensive services for manufacturers and dealers starting at the end of this year. Information from the CAN bus-based system can be accessed with complimentary software. Information on performance data, charging processes and user behavior will support system analysis and maintenance. Technical support is available through a hotline providing information about products and sources of supply. The service is operated at a central service center in Frankfurt.

Training courses specially tailored to the needs of manufacturers and dealers will start in spring 2015.

The service offer also applies to the Conti Drive System, which uses drive technology with timing belts instead of chains for bicycles, pedelecs, and e-bikes. The tooth profile is a differentiator—the size of the teeth ensures increased jump-over protection. In addition, it requires less pre-tensioning than other systems. This reduces wear and tear on bicycle components, such as gear hubs and inner bearings, and makes pedaling considerably easier.

Riemen_DriveSystem
Conti Drive System belt. Click to enlarge.

At the start of production, the Conti Drive System will be compatible with the gear hubs Shimano Nexus/Alfine, NuVinci 360, NuVinci Harmony, and SRAM G8, as well as with pinion drives, Bosch G2, freewheel cassettes, and the Conti eBike System. Continental will present the production-ready version of the Conti Drive System with optimized disks at the Eurobike trade fair.

Continental is developing the drive systems and service offers together with the specialist for e-bike drives Benchmark Drives. As of 2014, the company belongs to the drive belt specialist ContiTech Power Transmission Group, a business unit of the Continental division ContiTech.

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Comments

OK, but how much extra will it cost and weigh?
Anything where an e-bike costs more than e2K won't sell much.
E-Bikes are a great idea, but it is still hard to point to a really nice one.
It also depends on the customer - existing cyclists will probably want something that looks like a bike, non-cyclists might take something more scooterish.

(Maybe it just requires some decent marketing).

Continental is doing this right by placing the drive at the crank hub as well as offering the downtube battery mount (definitely the preferred geometry). BTW: for all of you out there who are non-believers in the effectiveness of transmissions on EVs, compare your range with a wheel hub motor to a crank hub configuration.

But mahon is sadly correct in his assessment of price point. Despite the global consumption of millions of e-bikes annually, the marketplace for key e-power components is terribly fragmented, with no one producing more than hundreds or perhaps low thousands annually. Presently the best-of-breed metrics in auto power electronics seems to be just under $10/kW, with GM having publicly announced a $3.30/kW target. Even if you adjust parametrics for single digit kW/sub-kW units, and account for reasonable Gross Margins, wholesale pricing of power elex for bikes is an order of magnitude higher.

It's not as bad for batteries, but because energy storage is (as usual) the main cost element, the effect on the end item is pervasive. If you buy direct from Chinese producers for an assembled battery, a shrink-wrapped LiFePO "brick" of modest quality will cost $500/kWh at wholesale in quantity.

These kinds of numbers make practical e-bikes just too daunting for many potential consumers. I am on my second one. My first major-league battery (1250 Wh) was a homebrew and thus more hobby affectation than useful, and it still cost me a ton. This time I have decided to just pony up the dollars, and bought an AllCell LiNMC 48v/26Ah pack for $1500. All up I have about $6000 in this bike. When you correct for capability (1300w EcoSpeed and 1.25kWh battery) against the Continental, BMW or other major manufacturer ebikes, the prices they are offering are unfortunately in line with present component costs.

@Herman, do you really need that much power ?
Most cyclists don't pedal at more than 100w, so I figure 300W would be enough for most e-bikes.

Also, most people wouldn't ride an e-bike more than 10 miles each way to work (too slow), so a 20-30 mile range should be enough.

You probably could get by with a 500 Wh battery in that case. Perhaps, if you could combine with with a 3kw charger, you could do rapid (for a bike) charging in 10 minutes, which would be very good.

This spec is for commuting < 10 miles / day, which would do most people.
You could increase it for people who want to tour, bt that would be a smaller market (unless you got a network of 3kw charging stations around the place (Really easy to do, put in a quarter (or a 20 euro cent coin) and charge away.

The great thing about e-bikes is that the power requirements are so low.

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