Over the past five to ten years, inexpensive front and rear electric hub motors have dominated the ebike market, and only recently have mid-drive motors taken a significant share of the market. Though there have been serious entrants offered up by the likes of TransX (Currie Technologies), Continental, Bafang/8Fun, Optibike, Yamaha, Shimano, and Panasonic, German engineering giant Bosch has led the way in both engineering and marketing throughout Europe and North America, and is continuing its blitz of new products and serious marketing efforts in 2016.
Most 2015 models sporting Bosch motors and batteries are of the Gen 2 Performance Line variety, which offer 60Nm of peak torque and offer shift detection to cut motor power while shifting in order to reduce wear on the chain and the cogs. For 2016, the new Performance Line CX offers 75Nm, a 25% increase in peak torque.
Equally important is the announcement that Bosch will offer the Powerpack 500, an upgraded 500Wh battery, which is a 25% increase in energy over their previous offering. This is especially big news for current Bosch ebike owners, as the Powerpack 500 is likely backwards-compatible with previous Bosch pedelec systems, and offers to increase the range of many thousands of ebikes that are already in use. With the additional power capacity comes an increase in charging time to 4.5 hours versus the 3.5 hours needed to charge the PowerPack 400, and a half-charge takes about two hours, whereas the PowerPack 400 needed only an hour and a half.
And last but not least, Bosch has teamed up with Falbrook, the company behind the Nuvinci continuously-variable transmission (CVT), as well as with Shimano and SRAM, to offer both electrical automatic shifting and electrical manual shifting on Bosch-equipped ebikes.
NuVinci’s system is called H|Sync with eShift, and is a cadence-based continuously variable automatic transmission that also comes with 9-speed manual mode that can be shifted using the Bosch eShift buttons.
Shimano’s 11-speed Alfine Di2 will also play nicely with Bosch eShift, and offers the benefit of automatically downshifting to start you off in first gear when you come to a stop at a stop light or stop sign. For the SRAM integration, you’ll be able to manually shift the three internal gears of the recently announced DD3 Pulse via the Bosch eShift, which can also shift automatically based upon speed (not cadence, as the Nuvinci setup does).
Read more about the Bosch 2016 lineup on their site.