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Look and Cixi E-Bike Has One-of-a-Kind Drive System
Feb 01, 2024
One of the big questions consumers often ask about e-bikes is why they don’t feature energy regeneration while braking. On paper, it makes terrific sense, but when we drill down on the engineering details the challenges become apparent: People don’t weigh a lot and regeneration saps an e-bike’s ability to coast. That’s not to say engineers have given up, which brings us to a collaboration between two French companies—Look Cycle and Cixi. The Look e-bike is the first to use Cixi’s Pedal-Electric Regeneration System.
Look is best known as the inventor of clipless pedals used by bike racers; they also make a variety of bikes and e-bikes. Cixi is an e-mobility company that has created a drive system that eliminates the need for a chain in an e-bike.
In a normal e-bike, the rider turns the pedals and the attached chainring pulls the chain to turn the gears on the rear wheel. With Cixi’s Pedal-Electric Regeneration System (PERS), the pedals serve as the input to a generator which takes the electricity and either sends it to the direct-drive hub motor or stores it in the battery, depending on the e-bike’s needs at the moment.
PERS uses a continuously variable transmission to translate a rider’s changes in effort into increases or decreases in speed. The direct drive rear hub can recapture energy.
Look has incorporated Cixi’s PERS system in a commuter e-bike called the Rover 45. The “45” designation refers to its pedelec classification determined by its 45kph (28 mph) top assist speed. Circuitry runs from the bottom bracket generator to a 700Wh battery contained within the seat tube as well as to the direct-drive rear hub. Conceivably, a rider could pedal on a downhill and help to charge the battery, as well as regain energy while braking.
Cixi produces a smartphone app that will allow riders to adjust the performance parameters of the PERS. Cixi has plans to use the system in a variety of e-mobility vehicles in addition to e-bikes.
Look is said to be gearing up for production on the Rover 45 and intends to begin delivering the first e-bikes sometime in 2024.
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