The central component of the Free Drive system is the generator from Schaeffler, which sets the even resistance at the pedal and simultaneously absorbs the pedalling power of the rider. The recuperative solution is a serial hybrid drive and converts the mechanical energy generated by pedalling into electrical energy, which in turn is converted back into mechanical energy in the wheel hub motor. Surplus energy is stored in a battery. All system components communicate with each other via CAN connection, just like in a car. Optimally coordinated, the complete system distributed by Heinzmann with 250 watts of continuous power consists of pedal generator, drive motor, battery power pack and human-machine interface (HMI).
"Whether 2-, 3- or 4-wheelers: without mechanical connection of generator and motor, the Free Drive system enables maximum flexibility in bicycle architecture and a freely configurable pedal feel, adapted to the requirements of the bike and needs of the rider with low wear and tear," says Jochen Schröder, Head of Schaeffler's E-Mobility Division. The compactness of the Free Drive allows a common distance between the two pedals of 138 millimetres. Manufacturer-independent, the Free Drive system can be specified for various applications. For fleet operators, Free Drive offers an ergonomic, low-maintenance and robust system with low operating and maintenance costs, as there are no wear parts and chain peripherals.