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One definition of the word elegant is "to be gracefully concise and simple." In the future, the dictionary just might include the GreenWheel as a product that illustrates this principle perfectly. From the MIT Smartcities team that gave us the stackable cars concept and the RoboScooter (still a go), comes a wheel that can turn an ordinary bicycle into a very desirable electric one in an easy, cost effective manner. Enclosing a motor, A123 Systems batteries and a generator into a small aluminum pancake hub, the GreenWheel can give you up to 25 miles of propulsion, or much more if you don't mind pedaling. Unlike conversions kits from the past, it forgoes running wires the length of your bike by incorporating the magic of bluetooth to control the twist-throttle.

Over a dozen different configurations of the GreenWheel are scheduled to be tried and tested by a variety of cyclists this spring. Once the the team analyzes their feedback, an ultimate configuration of power, speed and cost will be settled on and mass production will get under way. With an estimated cost of "several hundred dollars," they better plan on making a lot of them since not only are they a wonderful "solution" for several cities and ridesharing programs already showing interest, but in a world-economy that can't afford to buy cars the way they used to, the GreenWheel should have a bright future.

[Source: MSNBC]


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  • 29 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Now apply the concept (at least the motor part) to an electric motorcycle with something like a HyPa drive motor. 160 hp motorcycle! Electric! No chain or transmission! More room for batteries under the fairings!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Another brilliant idea from the folks at MIT.

      Keep it under $500.00 and I'll take 2, please.
      • 2 Years Ago
      is there any ebikes in the market with green wheel hub motor?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Bionx is the best hub motor kit out there I think, along with the Heinzmann kit. Okay I'm just quoting from electric bicycle kingdom which has great reviews but I do own a Heinzmann kit and altough it's quite heavy it's works perfectly.

      Heinzmann offers a great variety of different options for your own needs and wants, and like Bionx, is available today.

      Btw I never noticed before but I just read that Heinzmann make electric bicycles also. I found it at http://www.electric-bicycle-kingdom.com/
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't see the point. Keeping batteries out of the hub leaves much more room for them. I'd bet this wheel will have less than 250 Wh of capacity. Claiming 25 miles of range on that is stretching the truth, or assuming a 10 kph constant speed or other nonsense.

      For reference, here is my electric bicycle, with those old-fashioned wires. The wires were never the problem... I run 576 Wh worth of LiFePO4 battery, for the record.

      http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3999
        • 6 Years Ago
        I used to run a freewheel on my mountain bike. This was around 1992. Modern Shimano/SRAM/Campy cassettes with their shaped teeth are much better than freewheels. Furthermore, you avoid all the problems with spacing, wheel dish, and chainstay clearance when you stick with a front wheel.

        My battery pack isn't actually small -- it's in the green pannier on the far side of the bike in the photo, and is about 18 lbs of LiFePO4. The duct taped thing on the downtube is the controller.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Toshi, I checked out your bike, really liking the small lithium battery pack - but why is it that you don't use the Crystalyte rear motors that have freewheels? What was the problem you had with freewheels? The reason I ask is, I own one with a freewheel (and I sell them too - http://www.discountpv.com/electric_transportation/c408r-36sla.htm ) - and haven't had any problems.
        • 6 Years Ago
        from the picture it appears they are using about 16 A123 cells, total 110Wh capacity.. I dont see how to get 25 mile range out of that unless it's just a power assist.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think the advantage is that it may be very simple to upgrade an existing bike, as well as more reliable. Sealed against the elements, no wires or connectors. As to a little help from time to time, I don't have a car, and sometimes the 4th climb up the hill at the end of the day is a little tough.

      Also, it has a generator built in to get some of your effort back after climbing that hill for the 4th time! I wonder how much can be recovered via regen braking?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Umm hub motors have been around for years, just google "electric bicycle"

      What is so revolutionary about this?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Think about adding the green wheel to folding bikes like the Dahon. Someone could easily have a 40 mile commuter that could fit under their desk at work (that would be indirect competition with the chevy volt). How I believe that this is revolutionary, how it could add to the the combination of engineering and modern electronics. Now you could use your blue tooth and gps on your phone to record mileage, wheel revolutions, track your heartbeat compared to your output on the bike, to find inefficiencies in your riding. Can the current electric bikes do that?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think the revolution is not that it is a hub motor but it seems to me that it does not have a throttle but instead assists your pedaling, using your pedaling as the throttle. If it uses no wireless communication and has not wires then it must be using your pedaling input as throttle
      • 2 Years Ago
      Any ebike available in the market with green wheel hub motor?
      • 6 Years Ago
      It is revolutionary because someone at MIT thought of it, get with the program........
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm not impressed, but am greatly challenged by the design idea since I"m working on something in that area.

      What do you do when the batteries go dead? What's the drag?

      I like the Bluetooth controller. What happens when someone hacks your throttle? Go zooming off into traffic? LOL. There should be a dual option for a wire.

      The article reads "A123 Systems batteries". Is that a cell type or a manufacturer's corporate name?

      There should be a front wheel option for 2WD on difficult terrain.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A123 Systems is the name of the battery manufacturer. They batteries are expected to last around 40,000 miles. They are recharged by pedaling or by being plugged in.

        The source article says that "front, rear or both wheel can be equipped with a GreenWheel"

      • 6 Years Ago
      I ride a BionX PL350. It's a 350W motor that produces excellent torque. The motor is quite small, and light.. The battery pack is external, however, the wiring is quite neatly concealed and protected by a neoprene sleeve at the connection. The connectors are of good quality (not cheap non-waterproof Molex connectors like some of the units on the market.)

      I'm very VERY happy with the BionX, as it is a pedal assist - a lot of fun to ride on my hybrid.

      It's not cheap, but it's made in Canada.. so I know the build quality is quite good, and I understand the service should I need it is top notch. Best of all, it's available TODAY..


      www.bionx.ca

      • 4 Years Ago
      hi friend it was nice introducing such a good idea i am also working in this field of urs but did'nt have alternative of the battery you can suggest me please
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