New French Bike - Matra MS1
I'm sure some of you have already seen this, but I have to pass along the link anyway.
There aren't many details yet but if the stats are correct, this is pretty impressive. And the price isn't too offensive.
No word yet on if/when it might make it to the US.
This bike has two fairly large hubs. It reminds me of the Wavecrest system: battery in the front hub motor in the rear hub. Do you suppose that's what they're using?
And let me be the first to ask... where would the groceries go?
He shoots. He scores!
According to a comment over on EVWorld Matra got the rights to the Wavecrest technology.
I read that Matra bought the rights to Tidalforce's Wavecrest ebike technology so this must be the result. I had a TF M-750 and it was great but very heavy. The caliper brakes were underpowered for the weight of the machine in an emergency stop, so it looks like Matra has addressed that with the addition of huge disk brake rotors tacked onto the large rear motor hub and battery front hub. I would guess that this bike is even heavier than my M-750 because it looks like they made the extra battery over the rear wheel standard at the new E3500 price (about $4900 US). It probably weighs over 100 lbs. (45 kg). That would be how they got the excellent range out of it using that, and high speed using the MX-750 1000 Watt motor... guessing here. So this is really a little electric motorcycle with all the mass, kind of an E-Honda 50cc which is great. You could probably rig some kind of motorcycle-style trunk over the rear wheel battery pack, or maybe they sell it as an add-on. Of course, with this much power--even my M-750 had great acceleration--you could easily pull a child trailer full of groceries thus eliminating the car trips to market.
Currently I favor the pedelec technology of the BionX system and the luxury of not having to constantly hold a thumb throttle like the Matra probably has... i guess it could possibly have pedelec technology of it's own now =) I think that a twist throttle would be good enough for this little motorcycle.
I'd buy one if I had a spare $5000. Right now I'm looking at the new Schwinn electric bicycles coming out in 2008 because they are exceptionally light and use Li battery technology.
I wonder about the durability of the front wheel, with the battery as unsprung mass, right out in front. What happens when you hit a curb? Sure it has front suspension, but arent the spokes absorbing every little shock and bump from unexpected rocksand potholes?
I guess that's right, the front wheel battery is unsprung. I hit a curb one time on my M-750 and even pulled up a bit and it still puckered the rim slightly. The old Iacocca eBikes used to eat spokes on the powered rear wheel which was a nightmare because they were an odd length. My M-750 never broke a spoke in 1500 miles, of course.
Tidalforce forum on Google groups
My TF pics on the old Tidalforce forum on MSN groups
As an owner of TF cruser with 8900km on it I can add this.
Indeed Matra bought technology from Wavecrest, tooling also for TF 2 years ago.
AS uriel8 can confirm the weakest point of every TF is infamous front data connector which carry data and SOC LEDs wires from hub to the dash.
Before I dish my front hub I had tons of problems with it.
You don`t have to be rocket scientist to know that front hub batt is just temporary thing for 3-5years at the best years. I dish my 8.5kg hub after 3 hard seasons, I mean harsh Canadian winter included. I was a bit dissapointed, because my is 500W max Canadian model and I rearly discharged fully. But OK I always knew this:
battery is just replacable thing and I was sure in 3 years I would NOT use NMH 1.2V cells. Rebuild of hub doesn`t make any sense when market is flooded with safe Lithium tools packs.
It was no brainer what to do: 2 V18 batteries make for 36V.
TF/or rather conroller/ is blessed that will accept any 36V seen by controller to initialize processor.
Matra didn't manage to pack any Lithium into front hub. There are 30 plastic nests for D-size cells inside the hub so 10S3P cofiguration of 3.6V cells seems logical. Saft does`t make D-size Lithiums. But even after packing D-size wich would double capacity over NMH still there is problem with that critical connector. Problem is that fork works up/down a lot and on TF connector moved was not attached solid to fork, just ties is a joke in my view. Maybe they left big coiled slack and simply there is no connector-what relief. So fancy look aside you got NMH in the hub good for 4 seasons and B batt on the back which is Lithium - that`s NOT enough innovation for 5000 dol +tax. Regen breaking is very fine , V brakes kind of weak if you compare with light MTB, just need more liver squizing. Front disc was maybe needed, but 2 discs is definitely overkill , instead they should play with regen and increase it, introduce 4 stages like Bionx.
Treasure of TF is its motor-controller electronics with bullet proof mechanical design like bearings. This stuff can compare only with Haizman in terms of reliability.