With the ‘eneloop bike’ SPL series, however, the new “Eco Charge Mode” for regenerative charging control enables the rider to actively charge the battery while pedaling on flat roads. This series represents a new style of energy-creating models. The “Eco Charge Mode” controls the charging rate by ascertaining overall conditions such as foot pressure on the pedals and changes in dynamotor revolution speed. This enables effortless regenerative charging while riding, that is comfortable for the rider, by adjusting for the change in various conditions such as the amount of exertion, speed, and road conditions.
Some consumers worry about running out of battery power mid-journey when using a power-assisted bicycle. To address this concern, SANYO added a “Power Reserve” function to the SPL series, based on the company’s advanced rechargeable battery technology, together with a high-capacity 7.6 Ah lithium ion batteries. This will greatly reduce consumer apprehension over battery depletion.
The regenerative charging “Loop Charge” function, which enables the battery to be charged while riding, saves the energy created when the bicycle is traveling downhill or decelerating, and then uses it for power assistance when needed. This function has been well received for its ability to generate electricity to recharge the bicycle battery.
SANYO’s “Loop Charge” function found in previous models was realized through two features: the “Brake Charge System,” which switches the motor to a dynamo when the brake lever is activated, and the “Auto Mode,” which automatically switches the motor to a dynamo on downhill stretches. With both the “Brake Charge System” and “Auto Mode,” the opportunities for charging the battery were limited to braking and downhill riding. Recharging while pedaling on flat ground was not possible.
Now with a second-generation “Loop Charge” function, the new “Eco Charge Mode” controls the charging rate by ascertaining overall conditions such as foot pressure on the pedals and changes in dynamotor revolution speed. This enables effortless regenerative charging while riding, that is comfortable for the rider, by adjusting for the change in various conditions such as the amount of exertion, speed, and road conditions. Consequently, opportunities for generating energy while riding have been increased, making it possible to enjoy more energy saving for longer riding distances.
Furthermore, in the “Eco Charge Mode” the motor assist automatically kicks in when the rider encounters an uphill stretch, for easy climbing. Then on downhill portions, the motor automatically switches to a dynamo to charge the battery. The charging effect is further increased when the brakes are applied, by means of high-efficiency regenerative charging.
Using SANYO’s advanced rechargeable battery technology, the new “Power Reserve” function alerts the rider to recharge the battery and discontinues the motor assist function, when about 1 Ah*6 of power is remaining in the battery. At this point the rider can hold down the power button for two seconds, and the charge indicator will return to the “one light” level, and the motor assist will resume with about 1 Ah of battery power remaining.
Using the “Power Reserve” function, the rider can resume motor-assist cycling, and return home in order to recharge the bike with the dedicated charger. If the rider is far from home at the time that the motor assist stops, the person can also still select the “Eco Charge Mode,” in order to maximize the remaining battery power while riding.
With a conventional bicycle, human pedal power is applied to the back wheel, while the front wheel just rolls freely. With an ‘eneloop bike’ however, pedal power is still applied to the back wheel, but the front wheel also has an electric motor, creating a “Two Wheel Drive” system. As a result, both the front and back tires securely grip the road, increasing the feeling of stability while riding, and providing a very smooth ride and stable straight-line traction.
Amid the global move towards creating low-carbon societies, power-assisted bicycles are gaining attention as an economical and ecological mode of transportation, which offers a comfortable ride without producing any CO2 emissions. With the revision of the Road Traffic Law Enforcement Regulations in Japan in 2008, the permissible ratio of human power to motor power for bicycles (assist ratio) was changed to 1:2, further expanding the applications for power-assisted bicycles. In fiscal 2010 (April 2009 – March 2010), the number of power-assisted bicycles shipped in Japan increased at a higher rate than in the previous year, and the market for these environmentally friendly bicycles is expected to expand even more in the future.