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E-bikes with embedded CAN network

Bosch (Germany) has developed a complete E-bike and Pedelec control system based on CAN. The company has sold this solution to more than 50 European bicycle brands. The portfolio ranges from drive units and batteries to on-board and bicycle computers.

Dr. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, visiting Bosch’s Eurobike 2013 booth in discussion with Dr. Volker Denner and Claus Fleischer both working with Bosch

THE EMBEDDED CAN NETWORK USES a proprietary higher-layer protocol. It connects the drive unit, the battery, and the other devices including the operator panel and the on-board computer. The operator panel provides a USB interface to connect the E-bike and Pedelec control system to a diagnostic tool. This enables the user to read and write configuration parameters, to download software updates, and to read error codes. Bosch’s control system is available in three versions: Classic+, Active Line, and Performance Line – for leisure cyclist to sporting cyclist riding city bikes respectively sportive mountain bikes. In four years, the automotive supplier has become the market leader for E-bikes and Pedelecs in Germany and Europe. At Eurobike 2013, the company presented the second generation of its drive system in two new product lines: The Performance line for sportive cyclists and the Active line for touring and leisure E-bikes. Another trade fair premiere was the Nyon on-board computer with built-in navigation and fitness functions as well as a smartphone connection.

German chancellor at Eurobike

Dr. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, visited the booth of Bosch at Eurobike 2013. She said: “The innovative solutions for Pedelecs have triggered a real boom in Germany.” Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of Bosch’s board of management, added: “E-bikes and Pedelecs are an important contribution for future emission-free mobility concepts and a strategic entry in e-mobility.” He pointed out that E-bikes and Pedelecs are life-style products. Starting 2014, Bosch will start selling its products in the USA too. Pedelecs are limited to speeds up to 25 km/h and may be used in Germany without a driver license. E-bikes can run faster and do require a driver license. Bosch has introduced a drive unit supporting speeds up to 45 km/h. The devices are developed and marketed from the Reutlingen (Germany) head office of the product division. “Our employees develop unique and beneficial E-mobility solutions,” said Claus Fleischer, head of the Bosch E-bike systems product division. “They put their heart and soul into a future-oriented E-bike world and make an important contribution toward tomorrow’s mobility.”

The E-bike and Pedelec devices are connectable to an embedded CAN network

The recently introduced Nyon on-board computer is an all-in-one control, navigation system, and fitness trainer device. It even performs smartphone functions. It can be used to read text messages from a smartphone on the E-bike or to remote control the mobile phone’s music player. “This is the first time an on-board E-bike device has provided many useful functions that only several individual devices can otherwise offer,” said Claus Fleischer. “Nyon also offers on a brilliant 4,3-inch color display, a convincing graphic environment that is both customizable and easy to use.” Its modern design won it this year’s Red Dot Award for product design. From spring 2014 several bicycle brands will offer E-bikes with this on-board computer. It enables cyclists to check elevation profile and battery charge, to set assistance level and to view the route to take them back home. He or she can decide which information is shown on the screen and where. The user also can set their own favorite screen in addition to the so-called Ride screen by using a dedicated app on their smartphone. Additionally, the motor assistant model is configurable by the cyclist. This means you can fine-tune the motor for your individual needs.

The Nyon on-board computer provides also navigation functions

The Nyon’s navigation system provides a bicycle-optimized route calculation based on the Wiki Open Street Map (OSM). The GPS with Moving Map in 2D and 3D calculates the route. An optional extra is a remaining range calculator. Instead of the distance in kilometers, environmental conditions such as topography and cycling behavior are taken into account and shown to the user. Via Bluetooth the Nyon computer is connected to chest straps measuring the heartbeat. Heart rate and pedaling cadence, cycling performance, calculated calorie consumption, and training efficiency are shown graphically on the display. En route and afterward, you can follow activities and training progress on the Bosch Online Portal and share them with others. “We are working on more apps and functions, both free and paid,” said Claus Fleischer.

Increasing market for E-bikes and Pedelecs

In 2012, more than 1,1 million E-bikes and Pedelecs were sold in Europe. In China, the annual sales figure is higher than 20 million of electric-powered two-wheelers. Of course, the Far East markets are not ready to adapt sophisticated electronic control-systems. But North America may do so, even if the current annual market is just 100000 E-bikes. Bosch will supply its customers with products specially developed for the US market. From 2014, the Accell Group’s Haibike brand, BH Bikes’ Easy Motion, Cycle Union’s Kreidler brand and Felt and Cannondale E-bikes will be on sale in the US with Bosch’s drive system. There will be Performance Line models with the Intuvia Performance on-board computer and the Powerpack 400 frame-mounted battery. The drive unit will assist cyclists up to speeds of about 32 km/h. Nevertheless, Bosch regards Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands as its home markets. But there are also growing markets for E-bikes and Pedelecs in France, Italy, Great Britain, and Scandinavia, which the company will serve.

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