Kollmorgen Announces Plans to Build Electric Bike Motors

February 24, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

Kollmorgen Corp. (Waltham, MA) recently announced that it has contracts to build high-performance motors for two new lines of electric bicycles. Kollmorgen will supply custom electric motors for the US Pro Drive electric bike line from Currie Technologies Inc. (Van Nuys, CA) and for the eBike line from EV Global Motors Co. (Los Angeles).

The motors that Kollmorgen is supplying are high-efficiency dc brushless motors. This design is intended to eliminate friction, reduce wear and allow the system to run longer on a single battery charge. The motor can generate speeds of up to 18mph and travel up to 20 miles on a three-hour charge. The bikes plug into any standard ac outlet. "These brushless motors bring very high efficiencies to this kind of application," said Willy Verbrugghe, president of Kollmorgen's Industrial and Commercial Group. "In the past, the motors had to be so large that it made the bikes impractical. We expect this market to grow very quickly over the next few years, both in the US and overseas."

"We see a lot of growth in this market," said Kirk Strobel of Kollmorgen. "Currie already has a model available for police applications and they are working on designs for scooters that can be used in warehouses, marinas and airports. The bikes are so clean, quiet and easy to operate that the applications are almost unlimited."

The Currie Technologies design, priced at $899, uses a direct-drive motor attached to a drive plate on the rear wheel of the bike. It is available as a two-wheel or three-wheel model with two speeds, high and low. The eBike design incorporates the direct-drive motor as part of the rear hub itself. The eBike is available in several models priced from $1,000 to $1,295.