CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Computers, GPS, 'Smart' 'Phones

Battery possibilities

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  1. chdot

    The idea of electric bikes being the 'way to get more people on bikes' has been around for ages.

    One major problem is batteries - cost, weight, recharging time, life and resource/environmental concerns.

    Now Apple (with an interest in very small batteries) and Tesla (with power/weight interests of a different scale) are reported to be working together.

    Benefits for bicycles remain speculative -


    Thinking in the more immediate term, some market watchers have speculated that Apple could be interested in Tesla's proprietary battery technology, leading to smaller and more efficient mobile devices in the future.

    Batteries are of course essential to Apple's mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPad. A peek inside either device shows that the internal space is overwhelmingly taken up by a lithium-ion battery that allows hours of uptime.

    Batteries are an area of expertise for Tesla, the world's leading maker of all-electric cars. Tesla's vehicles are powered by the same lithium-ion battery technology that drives Apple's portable devices.


    Posted 8 years ago #
  2. Tulyar

    One major downside of making a high efficiency battery is that these tend to have low internal resistance. The upshot of this is that when a fault occurs - either a direct short circuit, or a cell not performing in the same way as the rest of the battery, the fault currents can be huge, leading to severe overheating, and often fire. I've had this when I converted the old never ready lights to NiCd and a leakage short circuit set one on fire.

    Caveat emptor as they say - no such thing as a free lunch.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  3. steveo

    You can also have great fun shorting out Huuuuge capacity supercapacitors through a dead short. Like a arc welder!

    I expect they'll be in use in cars before long, they'll be fun for mechanics.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  4. chdot

    "Caveat emptor as they say - no such thing as a free lunch."

    Mostly true (in a life sense!)

    In the battery/portable energy world I think this is particular true. Fuel cells and 'the hydrogen economy' have been 'just around the corner' for about 50 years!

    It's interesting that the Apple/Tesla's tie-up is based on "the same lithium-ion battery technology".

    Maybe that is the optimum for the needs/uses of both companies' very different applications. Certainly, with their expertise, innovation history and cash, if there is any chance of a 'breakthrough' this seems a good chance.

    It is of course debatable how valuable electric bikes are/could be at 'getting more people cycling'.

    There are people who don't think they could cycle, buy an electric bike and build up enough fitness for a normal bike. There are others for whom ageing/infirmity mean that 'power assist' helps them keep cycling.

    Electric bikes are never likely to be 'cheap' so unlikely to attract a mass market.

    There may be a more productive future for deliveries - see Tulyar's post on relevant thread.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  5. PS

    They're certainly becoming more popular, although from an admittedly small base. There's a chance that with concerted pro-people urban design policies they could become the urban powered vehicle of choice - more comparable to scooters than a bicycle. They could also be the trump card against the "Edinburgh's too hilly for cycles so it'll never take off" argument against cycle infrastructure provision here.

    As an aside, I saw a couple of battery-assisted MTBs for hire at Grizedale forest bike hire last week. £25 for 4 hours, so not that much more expensive than normal MTB hire there. In the last year the Lake District has begun to push electric bike hire, so it will be interesting to see how that goes.

    Posted 8 years ago #

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