Tag: electric bike

Bike Insurance? Does your electric bike need insurance?

Whilst ensuring your electric bike is not compulsory in England, there are numerous reasons to consider insuring your new ride. It is highly recommended to find a suitable policy in the event that you have an accident, which leaves you and your bike with a public liability cover as well as protection against theft and damage.

 

 

Keep your investment safe

Purchasing an electric bike is a significant investment you want to protect. There are different policies available on the market and you might want to shop around for the coverage that is right for you.

Assuming your home insurance policy provides the right cover is risky as you may only be covered while the bike’s at home. It is worth checking how much cover you are likely to receive as there are some strict conditions and limitations. Whereas specialist electric bike insurance policies often offer higher amounts of cover.

 

 

Electric Bike Insurance Cover

There are different policies available and factors you should consider when comparing ebike policies to find the coverage that is right for you:

  • Theft
  • Accidents and vandalism
  • Third-party liability insurance
  • Replacement cycle hire
  • Cycle rescue
  • Personnel accident
  • Other riders cover
  • Cover for accessories

 

 

Tips to prevent your electric bike from theft

Bike thefts reported to BikeRegister rose by 48% in June, compared to last year, so here are some tips to prevent your electric bike from being stolen in the first place:

  • Register your bike online
  • Invest in a high-quality lock
  • Protect your bike with an ImmobiTag identification chip
  • Store your bike in a secure location covered by CCTV
  • Unlock and remove your battery when you lock it up
  • Secure your bike in a different location every day
  • Don’t leave it parked in public for long periods of time
  • Failing to protect your bike adequately can also result in your insurance protection being invalidated.

 

The cost of specialised electric bike insurance is generally affordable but will vary depending on your policy and the add-ons that your policy offers to increase your coverage. Being on the safe side is always best as the damages you may be responsible for in the case of an accident can be significant.

 

 

Find more information about our UK theft and damage insurance packages here

 

 

Lithium-ion Batteries vs Hydrogen Fuel Cells in Electric Vehicles

Today, most electric vehicles use batteries, often based on Lithium-ion or Lead-acid chemistry. These batteries allow storing energy that was produced away from the vehicle and subsequently use that energy to create mechanical motion and make an e-bike, car or motorcycle move forward. Hydrogen Fuel cells, a rather old technology, created in 1839 by Sir William Grove and refined through the years, also allow storing energy in the form of hydrogen to power electric vehicles. Like a battery, a fuel cell harnesses a chemical reaction to produce energy in the form of electricity. More specifically, Hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity, water and heat from hydrogen and oxygen.

 

Fuel cells consist of an anode and a cathode surrounding an electrolyte called a synthetic polymer membrane which separates hydrogen and oxygen while only permitting the passage of certain ions (H+ or protons). Hydrogen atoms enter the fuel cell at the anode where they are stripped of their electrons. These electrons travel through the vehicle’s circuit to the cathode in the form of electricity. The positively charged hydrogen atoms (or protons) travel through the membrane to join with the oxygen and the electrons in order to eventually form water. Each individual fuel cell produces relatively low amounts of current and voltage and, like lithium-ion cells, therefore need to be stacked together in series and in parallel to reach the target voltage and max current required by the vehicle they are powering.

 

Hydrogen Fuel Cells vs Lithium-ion Batteries - Detailed functioning of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell

 

The beauty of hydrogen fuel cells is that you get electricity, heat and (potable) water as outputs with hydrogen and oxygen as inputs. Oxygen is abundant in the atmosphere while hydrogen is the most common element in the universe. However, hydrogen tends to bond very easily with other elements. Therefore, it has to be artificially isolated before being usable as fuel through processes that are quite expensive and energy-consuming.

 

Hydrogen used in fuel cells has the energy to weight ratio ten times greater than lithium-ion batteries. Consequently, it offers much greater range while being lighter and occupying smaller volumes. It can also be recharged in a few minutes, similarly to gasoline vehicles. However, Hydrogen fuel cells also come with a lot of drawbacks. First of all, hydrogen is mainly obtained from water through electrolysis which is basically a reversed fuel cell and takes electricity and water to produce Hydrogen and Oxygen. The source of this electricity can range from renewables to coal depending on where you are in the world, hence hydrogen extraction can be very clean or dirtier than a typical gasoline car. Nowadays, sadly, it is more likely to be the latter simply because of the way the majority of the electricity is produced on Earth.

 

Other issues are that storing hydrogen as a gas is expensive and energy-intensive, sometimes as much as half the energy, it contains, and even more so when it is stored as a liquid at cryogenic temperatures. In addition, it is highly flammable, tends to escape containment and reacts with metals in a way than renders them more brittle and prone to breakage. Eventually, although it is everywhere around us, hydrogen is hard, dangerous and expensive to produce, store and transport.

 

Fuel cells can also only operate with water, not steam nor ice. Therefore, managing internal temperatures is essential and heat has to be constantly evacuated through radiators and cooling channels which add considerable amounts of weight. Restarting in cold temperatures can also be very complicated and impractical in locations that often experience temperatures below freezing point.

 

Detailed functioning of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell

To conclude, hydrogen fuel cells offer a potentially very clean, energy-dense and easy to recharge energy source for vehicles and other systems, but are currently complicated, expensive and dangerous to operate. In comparison, Lithium-ion batteries, although less energy-dense and slower to recharge, are as clean, much cheaper, easier and safer to handle. More specifically, cylindrical lithium-ion cells like those used in the SIERRA and the FX are very stable and safe to use. In the future, once the technology is sufficiently developed and the drawbacks mentioned above addressed, hydrogen could be a great solution to increase range and decrease charging time in electric vehicles. But for now, lithium-ion technology is the best solution to offer very practical and high-performance e-bikes and other vehicles.

The Furo X is sold out for delivery in May and 10 days left for 25% DISCOUNT

Taking our bikes from paper directly to you and making them your new favorite way of commuting, cycling or just having fun has truly been a formidable adventure and keeps getting better!The FURO community is growing day after day and we have officially just sold out our batch of FX for delivery in May. The SIERRA is almost gone as well with only 2 left in stock.

As most of you are aware, our 25% discount is also ending very soon. You can rest assured that it still applies to all purchases made through our website until it expires. This means that our next batch of SIERRA and FX is still covered by the discount until the 15/05. It is currently planned for delivery in September, although it will most likely come earlier than this as we are working very hard to accelerate our production rate and optimise our supply chain.

If you are thinking about getting a FX or a SIERRA, we strongly advise to make the most of the discount, particularly as our next batch will also have a limited stock.

We are always available and very happy to help you, so if you have any questions or requests please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Physics Behind Electric Bikes Through Numbers

Our stock of FX and SIERRA for delivery in May has almost run out, and that is a lot earlier than we anticipated. You guys are loving it and to celebrate that, we are going to give you a short but complete article on the physics governing your ebikes rides.Let’s start with the protagonist itself, the ebike, here we will have a look at the SIERRA in particular. The SIERRA is made of a full carbon frame which has to be structurally strong enough to support the sum of your weight, the ebike’s weight with all its components, and the weight multiplication and shocks due to bumps and other obstacles on the road. In addition to all the typical bicycle equipment (disk brakes, gears, chain pedals, wheels, etc) the SIERRA’s frame also has to carry a motor, a battery, an electronic controller and a computer. These components are all relatively heavy with respect to the frame of the bike but remain light once you add your weight to the equation, even for the skinniest of you.

SIERRA Configuration

The SIERRA is equipped with a torque sensor which measures how much pressure you are exerting on the pedals. In turn, it sends a message to the controller which calculates how much power from the motor is immediately required. At the same time, the computer scales the controller’s calculations with respect to the assist level you are set on. Eventually, the controller which is connected to the battery opens a channel between the battery and the motor and allows high power currents to flow in a certain pattern so as to activate the motor and power your ride.

This then makes you go forward and pick-up speed. We will now focus on what is happening once you have reached a speed of 20km/h and are accelerating by 1km/h per second or reaching 25km/h after 5 seconds on a flat asphalt road. According to the second law of Newton, all the forces acting on the bike and yourself while you move forward are equal to your total mass multiplied by your acceleration. This can be written:

F=ma
with F the sum of the forces in Newtons, m the total mass in kgs and your acceleration in m/s².

Sir Isaac Newton

The forces acting on the bike and yourself while you are moving are:

  • Your own applied through the back wheel of the SIERRA: we will call it Fy and it is measured in Newton
  • The motor’s applied through the back wheel and the chain of the SIERRA: we will call it Fm and it is in Newton
  • The aerodynamic drag, due to your movement through the air of the atmosphere, which can be calculated in Newton using the following equation:
    D=1/2*Cd*p*V²*A
    with Cd the coefficient of drag, p the density of the air, V your velocity and A your frontal area.
  • The rolling resistance of the tyres on the road which can be calculated in Newton using:
    Fr=Cf*m*g
    with Cf the rolling resistance coefficient of the tyres on the road, m your mass in kg and g the gravitational constant g=9.81m/s², m*g is essentially the force in Newton exerted downwards by your weight on the bike.

FuroSystems SIERRA Sum of Forces

First of all, we can calculate the drag. In a standard relaxed cycling position on the SIERRA, your frontal area is likely to be 0.6m² and your coefficient of drag: 1.15. The density of the air at sea level is 1.225 kg/m3 and your velocity is 20km/h which is equivalent to 5.6 m/s.

So we get: D = 0.5 * 1.15 * 1.225 * 5.6² * 0.6 = 13 N.
The rolling resistance coefficient of bicycle tyres on asphalt is equal to 0.004, assuming you are 75kgs, the weight of the SIERRA being 20kgs, your total weight becomes 95kgs.

Hence, your rolling resistance is Fr = 0.004*95 = 0.38 N.
So the sum of the forces can now be written:

Fy + Fm – D – Fr = m*a

with m your total weight (95kgs) and your accelerations in m/s².

Also, note that the sign of the forces in the sum depends on the direction these forces are acting. If they act in the direction of the movement, then they are positive, if they act in the opposite direction, they are negative. We can replace the variable with the values we calculated knowing that an acceleration of 1km/h/s is equivalent to 0.28 m/s²:

Fy + Fm – 13 – 0.38 = 95 * 0.28 which is equivalent to Fy + Fm = 40 N
We know that the wheels of the SIERRA measure about 0.70m in diameter and therefore 0.35m in radius. We also know that torque is a force multiplied by a distance. Hence, the torque generated by the combined efforts of your legs and the SIERRA’s motor is 40*0.35=14 Nm. We can even get the total power by multiplying this by the angular velocity of the wheel, or the speed at which it rotates. We know that its perimeter is 2 * PI * Radius = 2.2m. As we are going at 5.6m/s, this gives 2.5 rotations of the wheels per second or an angular velocity of 15 rad/s (multiply by 2 * PI).

Hence, on a flat asphalt road, in order to maintain an acceleration of 1 km/h per second while being at a velocity of 20km/h, the total power needed from you and the SIERRA together is 15*14= 210W.

As the BOFEILI mid-motor of the SIERRA produces 350W of continuous power and more than 600W of peak power, at this cadence you will only be exploiting a third of the power of the beast. Depending on your assist level, you can either fully provide the 210W through your legs or entirely rely on the SIERRA, it’s your choice and that is the magic of electric cycling!

Do not hesitate to ask questions in the comments, we will be happy to answer them if anything needs to be made clearer!

First batch shipment and end of preorders

It’s official! Our first production batch is currently at sea and will reach our European warehouse around the 15th of May. We will then unload our containers and ship your bikes to you at lightning speeds, you will receive them within 2-3 days.It’s been a great adventure getting our bikes from paper right to your home and we are pretty sure that you won’t be disappointed! This also marks the end of pre-orders for the FX and the SIERRA. On the 15th of May, all 25% pre-order discounts will be discontinued. Our stock is also limited, so for those of you thinking about getting one of our great ebikes, now is the time 😉

Our mission to get commuters and cyclists beautiful, affordable, high performance ebikes is going better than ever, and we will keep working to get you the best, always!
Thank you all for your support!

A Guide to Lithium-ion electric bicycle batteries

As we just made the preorders for the bigger battery version of the SIERRA, the SIERRA MAX available, today appeared as a great opportunity to thoroughly explain the fundamental principles and physics behind Lithium-ion batteries and why they currently are the state-of-the-art in electric bikes. When looking at batteries, you basically want to maximise stored energy while minimising volume, weight, and price. As a society, we have been primarily using fossil fuels for personal transportation. This is because this type of power source is really good at storing a lot of energy in a small volume and with low weight while remaining affordable. Now that these chemicals are slowly but surely running out, and we witness how impairing they are to our sustainable development, cleaner options such as rechargeable electric batteries are progressively becoming the norm.

There are many types of those: Nickel-Cadmium, Lead-acid, Silver-Zinc, Lithium-Ion, etc. The following graph produced by NASA shows that Lithium-Ion chemistry has the highest energy density and is consequently the best choice to store electrical energy in small volumes and low weights.

Electric bike Lithium-Ion battery energy density comparison

While still 60 times less energy-dense than gasoline, Lithium-ion cells are the best available alternative to store electric power safely and economically in personal vehicles.

The following diagram simplifies the discharge mechanism in a Lithium-ion battery, which is tantamount to the motor pulling power from it. Positive Lithium-ions travel across an electrolyte and a separator from an anode towards a cathode, which is two dissimilar conducting materials. The cathode then becomes more positively electrically charged than the anode. This creates a voltage between the anode and the cathode, which is essentially a driving force that pushes electrons between two points. The higher the voltage, the higher the force. This can be visualised as a waterfall. The taller the waterfall, the greater the force driving the water from its top to its bottom.

Electric bicycle Lithium-ion battery discharge mechanism

This voltage drives electrons across the electromechanical systems of your ebike. They leave the anode to go through the controller, followed by the motor and back to the cathode. As electrons move across the system, the voltage of the battery goes down. The charging process is the exact opposite. A voltage is applied across the cathode and the anode which forces electrons to move in the opposite direction and the Lithium-ions to go back towards the anode. This restores the driving voltage between the anode and the cathode for later discharge.

Electric bicycle Lithium-ion battery charge mechanism 2

These chemical processes are contained within cells. Today most cells, whether in laptops, cars or ebikes, are cylindrical pieces of metal. This allows to contain pressure better and increase batteries’ safety and resilience to their environment. These cells usually provide a nominal voltage of 3.6V. This means that they reach 4.2V when fully charged and progressively go down to a safe minimum of 2.5V during discharge after which a battery management system shuts your battery down to preserve its capacity and health.

Lithium-ion cells have to be connected and assembled to build a battery with a total voltage that is enough to drive its target electro-mechanical systems; the controller, motor and screen in our case. Individual cells are packed and connected in Series to increase the total battery voltage to the required value (for example, 36V). Once this value is reached, these series of cells are packed in parallel to reach the total battery capacity, the value usually quoted in Ah. An average cell packs 3.6V and 2.5Ah, hence a battery producing 10Ah at 36V most likely consists of 4 groups of ten cells connected in series, which are then connected in parallel. I know that this is tough to get your head around but the following diagrams, courtesy of Cadex, should help you understand:

Electric bicycle battery series assembly

Group of cells assembled in Series to increase total voltage.
Electric bicycle battery parallel assembly

Group of cells assembled in Parallel to increase total capacity once the desired voltage is reached.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of the internal workings of your ebike or more generally your laptop, phone or car.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask in the comments!

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