The Gadget Show Live: Electric Bikes
Friday, August 14, 2009
: Welcome, Earth-caring viewers, to Golden Age Technology here on Supreme Master Television. We recently attended The Gadget Show Live event held at the National Exhibition Center (NEC) in Birmingham, England. The exhibition was an international showcase with some of the biggest names in the fields of computing, home entertainment, security, communications, and so on. It was the first live event based on the popular UK television series “The Gadget Show.” Electric bicycles are growing in popularity with the young and old and are a terrific transport alternative to cars as they help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At Gadget Show Live our Supreme Master Television correspondent met with representatives from three different electric bike companies ? Karbon Kinetics Limited, Ultra Motor and Urban Mover, all of whom have some very innovative models on the road right now. Let’s first meet Richard Thorpe, founder of the UK-based Karbon Kinetics Limited (KKL) and design engineer for the eye-catching GoCycle. Hi, my name is Richard Thorpe. I founded Karbon Kinetics in 2002 after leaving McLaren Cars, in order to start a company that was developing light electric mobility products, from electric city cars, to electric motorcycles, starting with a sophisticated two-wheeler called “GoCycle” that combines power, portability and style for an affordable price. Starting with the motor, the emphasis on the product is miniaturization, power, sportiness, and performance. The frame is the first injection-molded magnesium frame on a bicycle in history. It’s different from die cast products in that the process produces much finer grain structure, which gives the product more durability and strength. The frame and the wheels are injection molded in magnesium; the process is called Magflow. This allows us to produce a very lightweight structure which makes it possibly the lightest electric two-wheeler in the world. Another innovative feature on the product is the clean-drive system, which is patented in the European Union, pending in the United States and patented in China. The bicycle is designed for easy repair and maintenance. And it’s a multi-speed enclosed chain-drive, with side mounted wheels, which enables you to replace or change the tire on the rear very quickly and easily, unlike any other bicycle today, where if you get a flat tire, it’s a very, very greasy and tiresome job. The front and rear wheels are the same and interchangeable and this is the innovative “Pitstop Wheel” concept. GoCycle has an in-frame battery pack, and very quickly you can separate the frame, lifting it up, the battery pack slides inside and down. Another innovation found on GoCycle is the Lockshock, which is an award-winning design, and patented, that replaces metal structures of the traditional bicycle shock absorber with very high performance plastics, with integral lubrication. The Lockshock also allows you to store very neatly, a traditional cable lock for locking the GoCycle. That can be taken out, looped around, and locked back on, very quickly. Mr. Thorpe explains the power-assisted pedaling function. GoCycle has a hybrid-style power system, which means that human power is augmented with motor power, or electric power. And that is done by a very, very sophisticated algorithm control system, which is housed in the front fork. The software basically adapts the speed and the pedal input from the rider and delivers power in a very, very smooth and controlled way with a turbo range, if you will. In EU mode, for the European Union, the GoCycle will travel about 15 miles per hour, with power assisting the pedals. For the USA market, the GoCycle can travel eighteen and a half miles per hour without having any pedal input from the rider. The range in the European Union is about twelve miles to twenty miles depending on the amount of input that the rider makes. That’s on a single charge. With a heritage from F-1 (Formula 1) and motor racing, everything about this product is about performance and sportiness. As you can see, GoCycle’s motor is probably one of the few motors on electric two-wheelers that can fit in the palm of your hand. There is quite a lot of power packed into a very, very small space. : GoCycle is also lightweight and convenient for inner-city use. In terms of the weight of the product, it’s 16 and a half kilos, all up. If you have a non-empowered version, the weight is around 12.8 kilograms. It’s a 3-speed sequential gearbox. The seat and handle bars are adjustable in height and also reach. Can you also talk a little bit about the environmental benefits of having such a bicycle like this? Well, obviously with pedals, everyone will think we’re environmentally-friendly, but we actually go way beyond that. The product being magnesium, magnesium is recyclable, and the actual process for making the magnesium structure is not die casting, it’s actually injection molded magnesium called thixomoulding, and the process uses less energy per production cycle. And it also emits less harmful gases into the environment than traditional die casting. It really is a process for the future in terms of lightweight structures and low impact on the environment. : You’re watching Golden Age Technology. We’ll now briefly pause for some important messages. When we return, we will discover two more exciting new electric bicycles designed for green living. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television. Welcome back to Golden Age Technology. The Gadget Show Live exhibition, held in Birmingham, England, was an international showcase of the hottest new technology devices available to consumers, including intriguing electric bicycles. At the event we met Dawn Stockell from the team at Ultra Motor, a US company and makers of the A2B Metro and A2B Hybrid. Hi, we're with Dawn Stockell from Ultra Motor. They've just launched this new innovative electric bike and she's going to explain a little bit more about the features. This is a power on demand electric bike. This is the “A2B Metro.” I'm going to show you how the power on demand works. I'm going to twist the throttle and that will take you, when you’ve got a rider sitting on here, at 15.5 miles per hour which is the legal road limit for electric bikes in the UK. This motor is a 250 watt motor and it will power the bike. And you can choose to pedal the bike or you can choose to use the motor. Okay, this is the battery pack. So what happens with this is we unplug it here, unlock it, take the battery power off. With this battery power, you take it to your normal plug socket, and charge it. (It) takes roughly about five hours to charge the unit. It gives you a green light when it's fully charged. You put it back on and then you've got 20 new miles to be able to ride away on. Like the GoCycle, one of Ultra Motor’s models also features a power-assisted pedaling system. And can you also tell us a little bit about this type of bicycle here? Yes, this is our “A2B Hybrid.” This is actually a pedal assist. So in order to get the power from the battery here, you have to pedal the bike. So as soon as you pedal, there's a sensor just here, a torque sensor that realizes that there is movement on the pedals going forward. And what that does is give you that extra boost of power. That extra boost of power just makes that ride so much easier for you. It's lighter, it's got different tires but this model, the A2B Metro is far more for commute. For example, you would use the throttle when you're going to work because you don't want to get to work sweaty. Whereas this model, you're still pedaling it and it's more of a leisure tool because you're still pedaling, it's just allowing you go further. Finally, let’s meet Mark Loveridge from Urban Mover, a UK company that designs a variety of fun and fashionable electric bikes. Can tell us a little bit about the features of this electrical bicycle? It's got a Panasonic lithium battery which is mounted behind the purpose-built frame. Right. This is linked with a torque sensor on the pedals. So what it does, you ride it like a normal bike and it senses how much input you're giving and then sends the power from the battery to the motor in the rear wheel. This makes hills flat effectively and it makes riding a lot less stressful. You can optionally spec a throttle as well which is just like a moped really, if you want to go along without pedaling at all. What sort of mileage will you be able to get out of a full battery? A full battery like this one, which they're 36 volts, 9 ampere, you can expect to achieve up to 50 miles on half power. On full power, probably up to 30 miles. Okay. And the charging time, how long would it take to charge the battery if it's flat? It's a side-loading system. You pull the battery out the side in a couple of seconds, and take it in the house. (It is a) standard sort of laptop charger, and it takes about three to four hours for a full charge. If you can explain a little about the different features that you have on here for the electric power? Yes, well the bike’s been designed to be as user-friendly as possible and it's similar to a traditional bike, so that users can get on it very simply. On the handle bars here, you have a display which shows you the power that's remaining in the bike. There's a dynamo which powers the lights. It’s got your traditional Dutch lock. You can get your lamp post; you wrap this around the post and plug it into the side of your bike. Your bike's then secure. What wonderful concepts for convenient and eco-friendly transport! Bravo teams at GoCycle, Ultra Motor and Urban Mover for developing these inventive electric bicycles that keep the air of our cities clean and thus helps with the healing of our planet. Thank you, caring viewers, for joining us today on Golden Age Technology. Coming up next is Vegetarianism: The Noble Way of Living, after Noteworthy News. May Heaven’s blessings be with us as we work together to create a sustainable world.