While strolling around the internet, I stumbled across a pic of an electric pizza delivery bicycle that I hadn’t seen before. I thought our readers might be interested, so here it is. In the city of Hamburg (Northern Germany, near the Danish border), there is a pizza company called Joeys , and they decided to start adding several types of “green” vehicles to their operations. This would allow them to see what works best before expanding that idea to other cities.
They have apparently started using a few Citroën C-Zero’s, with Renault Twizy’s, along with electric scooters and some E-bikes. This pilot program will give them real-world in-house expertise in evaluating a realistic cost-analysis.
That by itself is E-news, but there are two more interesting things that caught my eye. I hadn’t seen this bicycle before, and I hadn’t seen this mid-drive system before.
The pizza delivery pedelec shown above is from GobaX, from a company in nearby Switzerland, just south of Germany. I like how the battery box is conformed to the center of the frame. I like these cases, and even if a bike was not electric, they would be useful for cargo, such as a lock and cable, or perhaps safety glasses with a pair of gloves.
Now, lets move on to the really important part, the drive unit! At first glance it appears that this drive could be retro-fitted to a wide variety of existing frames, but there hasn’t been much information published about these yet, and the cylindrical bottom-bracket shell almost looks like it may be a larger diameter than common BB’s.
250W isn’t too impressive for North American riders, but many countries in the European Union have severe power-limits. I believe that if you are limited on how much power you can use, then a mid-drive that gives the motor some gears to use is really the best configuration, especially for riders who live in hilly areas.
I do not encourage irresponsible riding that can endanger pedestrians, such as speeding on a sidewalk or dashing between cars suddenly, but if a rider with a bag of groceries and a child on board arrives at the bottom of a steep uphill…limiting a responsible adult to 250W is just silly. Canada has a 500W power limit, and that is MUCH more reasonable. A mid-drive using the USA limit of 750W is quite fun, and I highly recommend it!.
But…since Hamburg has a 250W limit, this compact drive should be adequate, especially if the riders are athletic college students, delivering pizza to their community as a part-time job.
The company that designed it is “Electragil GmbH” (GmbH is German for “Incorporated”). I am very happy to find that this drive uses 36V. It is more difficult to hot rod a drive that is voltage-specific to something low, like 24V, since changing to higher volts would make the motor spin faster.
Mid-drives can very simply have their top-speed adjusted up or down by changing the sprockets on the bike, but the pedal-cadence might be too fast for the rider to add pedaling (if you took a 24V kit and used 36V), which is very desirable. The easiest hack is to surgically swap-in a different controller to add more amps. Of course, for any adventurous souls who want to attempt this, it is vital to add a temperature sensor, so your new rocket-bike will not overheat.
Here is another bike that is using the Acron mid-drive, the TDS Impulse.
The pic below is of a delivery E-bike from the German Postal service Deutsche Post. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the Acron drive, but if you were drawn to this article by the thought of deliveries by E-bike, it might be relevant to you. (Actually, that is really just a thin excuse to use this pic again, simply because I like it…)
If a local company hired me to advise them on which bike or motor-kit to use for deliveries, I would choose a bike similar to the Deutsche Post bike shown. Step-through frames (or at least a low top-tube) are more stable when getting on and off of the bike, and this is vital when it’s loaded with anything that’s heavy.
If I had to choose an existing bike, two names immediately pop into my mind. The Juiced Riders ODK-II, and the Edgerunner from Xtracycle. Both have low (or reasonably low) top-tubes, and a low 20-inch tire on the back. The 20-inch tire keeps the cargo weight low, and it also means that if you choose a hub-motor, it will climb hills very well. Although a mid-drive would remain an option, it would not be required for significant hills.
Written by Ron/Spinningmagnets, December 2013