Sanyo launched their Eneloop ebike to the North American market today at Interbike. The Eneloop bike is expected to be available through independent bicycle dealers and specialty retailers throughout the United States beginning in November 2009, with a suggested retail price starting at $2,299.
Regenerative battery charging can be done by braking and by going downhill to extend the bike's range.
The eneloop bike is a 26-inch, three-speed regenerative, pedal-assist hybrid electric bicycle. As such, riders can propel the eneloop bike under their own power or can engage the bike’s motor and electrical system to pedal in one of three assist modes – standard, power-up or auto – where the front hub-based motor helps the bicycle and rider travel forward.
As with similar ebikes, power and mode are selected from a handlebar mounted panel switch. The Sanyo eneloop is somewhat unique in that the bike lights are integrated with the other electronics of the bike; other ebikes tend to have lighting as a separate system if they're included at all.
As with most other ebikes, the power assist comes from a hub motor. The motor, mounted in the front hub, is a 250 watt DC brushless motor.
Sanyo claims the Eneloop bike motor can provide as much as twice the effort as you put into pedaling, while previous pedal assist bikes provide about a 1:1 assist ratio. A torque sensor at the rear wheel senses the pedal power and adjusts the powered wheel output accordingly.
Some features of the eneloop bicycle:
25.9 volt/5.7 Ampere-hour(Ah) lithium-ion battery
Charge time ~ 3.5 hours
Total bike weight ~ 50 pounds (about typical of hybrid ebikes)
Taillight brake lamp - High-intensity, flashing LED tail lamp that operates when the headlight is turned on and flashes faster when braking
Handlebar panel switch
Low frame and saddle design to allow easy step-through and mounting
Seat that accommodates 26-inch framing
Neatly-designed frame with internal cabling
Expected riding distances:
Up to 17 miles in Standard Mode – no charging while riding (with the motor engaged)
Up to 20 miles in Power-Up Mode – regenerative charging via braking only
Up to 40 miles in Auto Mode – full regenerative charging
So... would this with slick marketing seduce people onto bicycles with motors-- and then, perhaps, we can seduce them onto bicycles without them and they find out how easy it is to pedal a bike without a honkin' motor weighing it down? Sounds like the American weigh...
@Sioux: I can imagine the day when I can't exert quite the effort I once did, so I can appreciate a little boost. Unfortunately, I think everybody I see on e- and gas assist bikes are all younger than me.
The SANYO eneloop electric bike is truly a unique electric bike unlike any we have sold in the past 10 years. It's small battery and efficient hub motor are so well optimized, they run forever on a charge but still give you plenty of oomph going up steep hills.
I think with the Eneloop, Sanyo is pointing in the direction electric bikes are going. http://www.nycewheels.com/sanyo-eneloop-electric-bike.html