The ebikes of the future may have no drivetrain at all. Just look at this wild concept bike from Look, of all brands. The bike was on display at the Cixi booth, the French company behind the drive-less drivetrain.
Formula One fans will be familiar with KERS, but here, Cixi is working on their PERS – Pedaling Energy Recovery System. Essentially, the system is a transmission by wire. Up front where the typical ebike motor and crankset would be, you’ll find a similar-looking contraption, just without any sort of chain or belt attached to the crankset.
When you pedal a bike with PERS, you’re actually pedaling against resistance to make it feel like you’re pedaling normally, and that resistance is charging the battery. The system then transmits the signal from the pedals to the rear hub motor, propelling the bike based on the speed that you are pedaling. Out back, there’s also regenerative braking which further charges the battery.
There aren’t any gears in the system, just a continuously variable ‘transmission’ as the algorithm automatically adjusts the “crankset behavior”. You can also adjust how hard it is to pedal based on how you’re feeling. Another interesting feature is that the PERS can control several motors at the same time – or a motor that is very far from the pedals.
That leads into Cixi’s dream – everyone on a bike. Even if that bike is a three-wheel, covered two-seater that can do 120kph and is certified for highway use (kind of like the Canyon Future Mobility Concept). That’s the story behind this wild Vigoz prototype that was also in the booth. The bike/car hybrid has an automatic tilting feature when cornering, and claims to have a 160km battery range that is rechargeable in 6h on standard 220v sockets. You can learn a lot more about Vigoz here, but they expect that it should be available by 2025. Interestingly, they say Vigos will only be available by subscription.
Look Cycle does already offer a few ebikes, but this is radically different than something like the E-765 Gotham. Featuring a low standover height, and striking industrial design, the bike has everything you’d need to make a solid commuter bike – except the drivetrain.