It had to happen sooner or later...
integrating battery, motor and controller into one wheel for a simple neat e-bike conversion.
These eliminate the need for attaching battery and controller somewhere (frame or separate rack) on your bike.
They also eliminate all wiring because control of and data from the wheel is either wifi-ed (is there such a word?) to your smart phone on your handlebar or is completely automatic.
THE ELECTRON WHEEL
The first wheel of this type to be produced is available from Currie Technologies (www.currietech.com) in US at $US999 ($Au1092 + shipping) and I don't think available anywhere else.
Self contained all-in-the-wheel wheels like this is one direction e-bike conversions will be going.
This neat wheel allows just about any bike to be converted. (though only 26" at present).
This replaces your front wheel and you can swap the wheels in less than a minute.
While it is revolutionary it has some limitation compared with the wheels below which may be available in 2014.
There is no throttle as with most conversions and the other all-in-one wheels. The wheel has "a mind of its own". Sensors within the wheel detect your accelerating and your going uphill and THEN add power,
and vice versa reduce power. The assistance is always there, more or less. If you want to ride without assistance you change back to the original wheel. (which is easy and quick)
Another limitation is the range. The system is 24v and the 10AH battery has less range than the 36v wheels.
For more info and a video
The next wheel likely to be available is Flykly.
It is only 4kg and that is 4 or 5 kg less than the usual battery + motor.
This version of the all-in-one conversion wheels is 26" rear wheel. (20" version may be available).
This wheel has onboard sensors and also wifi connectivity to your phone. It comes with a handlebar light which has a mount for a smart phone, which becomes your interface with the motor.
You get speed, distance, etc, readout, and you control the assistance you want.
This is from a start-up development in US crowd funded by KickStarter.
The deal works if enough people pledge to put money upfront for a wheel they will be funded for production.
The upfront cost is US$590 payable on Nov25. The only catch is if they take the money and don't produce.
That seems unlikely as it has a lot of support.
They already have enough people pledging support and say their wheels will be available in May next year.
I've got one on order. You can read about them, or pledge for one here
A similar more sophisticated wheel called the Copenhagen Wheel will be produced in 2014.
This version also has wifi phone controls, including locking, GPRS tracking, and various sensors of noise and pollution.
To quote from the website:
"Smart, responsive and elegant, the Copenhagen Wheel is a new emblem
for urban mobility. It transforms ordinary bicycles quickly into hybrid e-bikes that also
function as mobile sensing units. The Copenhagen Wheel allows you to capture
the energy dissipated while cycling and braking and save it for when you need
a bit of a boost. It also maps pollution levels, traffic congestion,
and road conditions in real-time.
You can read about this project here
or watch the video
The Copenhagen Wheel is also now available for pre-order (US$699 + US$79 delivery) with delivery said to be around March 2014.