Author Topic: New integrated BB Electric Motor & Auto Gearbox  (Read 381 times)

Andre Jute

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New integrated BB Electric Motor & Auto Gearbox
« on: February 19, 2022, 01:55:38 AM »
Valeo, a well-known maker of quality car components, is entering the market with a New integrated BB Electric Motor & 7 sp Auto Gearbox, already available to OEMs.



https://cyclingindustry.news/valeos-motor-and-7-speed-auto-gearbox-enters-production/
 --  hat tip to Andrew Muzi <www.yellowjersey.org/>

The question arises, is 7 gears enough?

I have an automatic 8sp hub gearbox from Shimano, full auto, not that cut down rider assisted auto on the DuraAce. It is basically a Nexus Premium 8 speed box with an external stepper motor for the mechanical function of changing the gears by rotary action. The real magic lies in the computer which operates the box according to selectable programs. Components and a photo essay:
http://coolmainpress.com/BICYCLINGsmover.html

I also have a Bafang/8FUN BBS midpoint motor, in my version operated by a control box which offers 9 "gears", each just being a faster rate of current consumption, which is why in descriptions of using it I stress the concept of the Coulomb, which is a natural limit to ebikes on hills or heavily loaded ebikes. I operate the Bafang with a program that gives a five-"gear" spread across the power range, into a Rohloff 14sp box. I've written elsewhere that the Rohloff is overkill, but I keep it because it is bulletproof. However, with a torquey electric motor you don't need 14 speeds, never mind 14x9 or 14x5 or 14x?.

Seems to me that with a 48V supply, the Valeo will be pretty torquey, and seven speeds could be enough for most circumstances.


Danneaux

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Re: New integrated BB Electric Motor & Auto Gearbox
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2022, 03:41:16 AM »
Being in the midst of an ongoing feud with my Ford Focus' 6-sp "manumatic" and the various electronic gremlins inhabiting the medium- and high-speed CANbus connections, the PCM, the recently reflashed board-level firmware on the TCM, the two servo motors and shift forks controlling two dry clutches all controlled by microvolt-level variations in multiplexed wiring with me and a laptop in the driveway using FORSCAN to sort it...

True "manual" transmissions are looking very good to me at the moment, both in cars and bikes. I have long preferred them in both -- moreso at present. ;) ;D

All kidding aside, it makes sense to integrate the gearbox with the electric motor, protecting the workings from weather, road grit and minimizing the need for frequent lubrication and cleaning. I presume the hub end uses a single-speed freewheel, but if freewheeling were contained in the gearbox, then a simple fixed-gear would do the job as well, perhaps with a Chainglider or belt. A two-speed rear hub akin to this but equipped with a single cog...
https://cyclingtips.com/2020/07/this-rear-hub-has-2x-wireless-shifting-inside-and-11-gears-on-the-outside/
...would make for 14-speeds at the wheel from the 7-sp motor 'box.

Interesting stuff, Andre. I've been following it from the other end, being a member of several online groups where mechanics have to deal with mid-motor repairs. The biggest problem across the board seems to arise from wire routing (worse if internal to the frame tubes), connectors with moisture intrusion, overheating caused by loose connections and rapid primary gear wear (worse if made from nylon or plastic).

All the best,

Dan.

PH

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Re: New integrated BB Electric Motor & Auto Gearbox
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2022, 02:15:12 PM »
That's interesting.  The combining of the gearing and power unit in one has a lot of benefit for the end user looking for simplicity and I expect the OEM manufacturers.  Less so for the enthusiast who likes to tinker, though with E-bikes that's probably a smaller section of the market than with non assisted bikes, though even that can be overestimated depending on which bubble you inhabit. I've already come across some users who haven't grasped the difference between the bicycles gearing and the motor assistance, including one Deliveroo rider who probably does 300 miles a week and never changes gear, just power levels.
I don't understand the workings of these motors, well the mechanical working seem straightforward enough from what I've seen online, it's the electrical element and in particular the power management which is a mystery. A disappointment with my E-bike has been the power fade as the battery level decreases, by the time it's down to 2 bars (Out of 5) I have to go up a power level for the same assistance and if I let it drop to 1 bar I'm trying to get back to base to swap batteries. This is with a Bosch 36v system, my understanding is that a 48v system will maintain it's output for longer, but I'm sure there's trade offs?

Alongside the tech, I found this the most interesting comment in the article
Quote
An accurate reflection of this seismic shift in transport is the presence of motor vehicle and bicycle manufacturers, collectively participating under the new ‘mobility’ heading of the 2021 IAA show.
We do live in interesting times transport wise and I have no doubt small, personal, electric vehicles will play a big part in the future.  I'm less sure what proportion of those are going to be pedal assisted.  We'll see.

Andre Jute

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Re: New integrated BB Electric Motor & Auto Gearbox
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2022, 08:11:30 PM »
Interesting possibilities, Dan.

First we should establish that you don't want a front motor with too much torque in the hands of innocents, or customers with road rash induced by careless use of that power will skyrocket.

The mid-motor is anyway the future for a lot of other reasons, and then the question becomes whether gears are required at all in the back of the bike, because it's a doddle giving an electric motor as many faux "gears" as its power spread will support, the limit being ridicule from experienced cyclists rather than mechanics or electrics. For flat utility riding, I don't see that a gearbox or derailleurs are necessary even at 250W. Which is why I say the gearbox above will do very well with its seven gears.

But if they're fitted separately, the question about the gears at the back becomes, and urgently, How strong are the gears. That is the sole reason for keeping my Rohloff on an electrified bike with oodles of torque, that I live among serious hills, and that I know for a fact that my mid-motor will swallow a Shimano Nexus box whole, burp, and demand another. After all, unassisted I trashed two Premium 8sp Shimano boxes in under 5000 miles the pair, and not because I was trying or because I'm careless of my property; they just weren't up to a mashing retired rugby forward.

I've written elsewhere on the forum that if the motor/battery combo is correctly chosen, three to five relatively widely spaced gears on/in the rear hub should suffice for almost any terrain, given as always that they are intelligently chosen, and that some thought is given to how the power programs of the motor will be used to fill in.

Paul, you should determine first of all which sort of indicator the bar graph is. On some ebikes it is actually what it is often mistaken for, an indicator of power remaining, a battery level, on others it gives a measure of the instant power draw (the empty bars) and the power available for instantaneous call (the bars still lit). You can tell which is which by fully charging the battery and the riding up a short steep section of road or even a ramp onto a particularly steep sidewalk and watching the bars: on the battery level gauge the level will fall slowly, recovering a little between big draws. On the instantaneous current draw meter the gauge will fall quite fast and the minute you come on the level again recover fully because the battery is still capable of delivering a big chunk of current for a few seconds. Or, if you've ridden fifty kilometers with serious battery use and the bars are still hovering up high and recovering fast, that's an instantaneous power available meter. The Chinese instructions are not always clear on which is which, and someone told me the German instructions are not well translated. You might think of the second version as a reverse rev counter, as is fitted to the modern Rolls Royce and called a "Power Meter". I've written a few brief notes about it on the forum here -- search for Coulomb Meter, which is what I've unilaterally named the second type of bar graph.

In use I have a Coulomb meter in front of me (it comes on the C965 controller supplied with my BBS-01 Bafang motor), with zero instructions, of course, and the battery level is indicated on the battery box itself, but irrelevantly so as I wouldn't dream of leaving home without a full battery, and all my rides are planned to bring the battery back home half full; my batteries last many years, and I still have the one from my first motor kit in perfect nick as a backup. If the C965 has a battery level as well as a instantaneous battery draw (Coulomb) meter, I haven't yet found the way to switch it on.

Mo' Coulombs is better Coulombs
The way to ensure that you always have enough Coulombs for the brief excessive current draw that will otherwise age your battery (actually batteries, as those boxes are built with flashlight-like cells) prematurely, is to buy the biggest battery you can afford. I'm not aware -- but then I don't keep up as I have every intention that my next electric bike will also be specified and built by me because I've already given the time and effort to educate myself -- of any commercial ebike manufacturer who gives you an adequate battery in their common models, though most will sell you a bigger, always proprietary and pricey, battery for their jam; some of these bigger batteries I also consider inadequate.

For a motor 250 to 350W ridden by a cyclist who needs intermittent assistance, not an electric motorbiker, I consider that at present 14-16Ah is a good cost/distance balance because batteries weigh a lot. Someone who expects a day's work out of an ebike better keep two such batteries on the charger overnight, and keep the spare in an accessible place, because double the amp-hours on the bike would be too heavy. Under such a solicitous regime, the life of even a well-used battery won't be infinite, but should be quite a few years. There's an alternative, of course: resign yourself to buying a new battery every year or perhaps two, and just run it down every day, like you would empty a car's petrol tank. You'll know when the time comes to replace it, or switch to the scheme above, when towards the end of every day you are pedaling along an extra 14-25 pounds of dead battery.

Three more more things while I'm banging on about it. The batteries that go into those black boxes aren't all of the same quality. The best, the last time I looked into it, were Panasonic and Samsung. The next important thing is that, unless you have serious electronic and soldering skills, don't even think about rebuilding your own battery box: you could be building a bomb instead of a battery. I have considerable electronics experience in designing and building c2000V ultrafi and haven't for as much as one second considered building my own battery box. Finally, the current "standard" in ebikes is 36V operation; the next standard is likely to be 48V, and soon the price of 48V batteries will fall as they become much more common. 48V battery boxes are heavier by one-third than 36V but give you more Coulombs while doing less damage to the batteries, more normal power, and more range. Something to consider.

PH

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Re: New integrated BB Electric Motor & Auto Gearbox
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2022, 11:37:33 AM »
it's a doddle giving an electric motor as many faux "gears" as its power spread will support, the limit being ridicule from experienced cyclists rather than mechanics or electrics. For flat utility riding, I don't see that a gearbox or derailleurs are necessary even at 250W. Which is why I say the gearbox above will do very well with its seven gears.
Do you think that's the case with this motor?  I'd assumed they were "real" gears.  My experience is that keeping the motor spinning at a reasonable speed is the best way to optimise the power capacity.  As you say, it's the riding experience that matters and as I may have said before I've met several people on E-bikes who would not have considered using a non assist, I'm sure they have little interest in how it works, just that it does.
Quote
Someone who expects a day's work out of an E-bike better keep two such batteries on the charger overnight, and keep the spare in an accessible place, because double the amp-hours on the bike would be too heavy. Under such a solicitous regime, the life of even a well-used battery won't be infinite, but should be quite a few years. There's an alternative, of course: resign yourself to buying a new battery every year or perhaps two, and just run it down every day, like you would empty a car's petrol tank. You'll know when the time comes to replace it, or switch to the scheme above, when towards the end of every day you are pedaling along an extra 14-25 pounds of dead battery.
I was very tempted to buy a R&M Supercharger which does have a dual battery option, once you get into such heavy machines the weight of an extra battery is less significant.  I had to remind myself this was a commercial decision and let my head rule my heart and buy something at less than half the price! I start the day with two fully charged batteries, but don't carry the spare. I'm rarely five miles away from it, 4 out of 5 days I don't need both, but if I've used more than half and I'm passing that way, I'll swap them anyway, I also use in rotation which I'm hoping will prolong their life.  I'm not that bothered, this kit pays for itself, what feels like a luxury of not having to be too concerned about usage, also has commercial justification.

 

Andre Jute

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Re: New integrated BB Electric Motor & Auto Gearbox
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2022, 11:44:30 PM »
it's a doddle giving an electric motor as many faux "gears" as its power spread will support, the limit being ridicule from experienced cyclists rather than mechanics or electrics. For flat utility riding, I don't see that a gearbox or derailleurs are necessary even at 250W. Which is why I say the gearbox above will do very well with its seven gears.

Do you think that's the case with this motor?  I'd assumed they were "real" gears.

Yes, I too assumed they were seven real gears and the journalist was merely too limited for space or green about electric bikes to ask about the programmed progressions of power between the "hard" gears.

My experience is that keeping the motor spinning at a reasonable speed is the best way to optimise the power capacity.  As you say, it's the riding experience that matters and as I may have said before I've met several people on E-bikes who would not have considered using a non assist, I'm sure they have little interest in how it works, just that it does.

Quote
Someone who expects a day's work out of an E-bike better keep two such batteries on the charger overnight, and keep the spare in an accessible place, because double the amp-hours on the bike would be too heavy. Under such a solicitous regime, the life of even a well-used battery won't be infinite, but should be quite a few years. There's an alternative, of course: resign yourself to buying a new battery every year or perhaps two, and just run it down every day, like you would empty a car's petrol tank. You'll know when the time comes to replace it, or switch to the scheme above, when towards the end of every day you are pedaling along an extra 14-25 pounds of dead battery.
I was very tempted to buy a R&M Supercharger which does have a dual battery option, once you get into such heavy machines the weight of an extra battery is less significant.  I had to remind myself this was a commercial decision and let my head rule my heart and buy something at less than half the price! I start the day with two fully charged batteries, but don't carry the spare. I'm rarely five miles away from it, 4 out of 5 days I don't need both, but if I've used more than half and I'm passing that way, I'll swap them anyway, I also use in rotation which I'm hoping will prolong their life.  I'm not that bothered, this kit pays for itself, what feels like a luxury of not having to be too concerned about usage, also has commercial justification.


All of this is valuable information/possible operating protocols for anyone who uses an electric bike for earning a living, or just regular recreation or health riding. I'm sure your two-battery, half-power-remains switchover regime is sensible and will prove beneficial to battery life and range, and probably in the long term, maybe even the medium run amount to quite a bit of money saved. It depends on the speed at which the price of battery cells (and to a lesser extent the crucial controller boards) falls from the current exorbitant price.There's also competition from cars for the available quality cells, which is another morass of guesstimates.