Coboc Circular Concept
Impulses for the Circular Economy in e-bikes and beyond.
The (e-)bike is more popular than ever. There is a real boom, but the enormous demand can hardly be met at present. This is due, among other things, to the Covid-related shutdown of production facilities and the multiple interruptions in global supply chains.
More and more often, and above all more and more clearly, we are becoming aware of the interdependencies between people and the environment and what can happen if these get out of balance. The further we look into the future, the greater the role that finite raw materials will play.
Time, to rethink some things.
Linear Economy vs. Circular Economy
Our economy has been functioning “linearly” for a long time. Raw materials are used to make a product, which are then thrown away at the end of their life cycle.
The approach of a circular economy is to design products in such a way that waste is avoided or parts of them can be reused. When new raw materials are needed, they must be obtained sustainably without harming the environment. This minimizes the use of finite and rare raw materials.
Coboc Circular Concept
So far, so good. But what can Coboc do? We sat down with this question in mind a few months ago.
Briefly, we need to digress. Typically, manufacturers in the e-bike industry proceed as follows: Components are compiled, purchased and finally assembled into a finished e-bike. Among other things, there is a high degree of dependence on the manufacturers of the drive systems, as these are usually bought in. In contrast, Coboc develops and produces its own drive system, the Coboc Electric Drive.
The aim is therefore to design and develop products that are more sustainable and durable. But also in such a way that as much of them as possible can be reused after their useful life. Here are the first thoughts on the Coboc Circular Concept.
The Coboc Circular Bike is characterized by the fact that the battery and the frame can be used multiple times. For all parts, attention is paid to their manufacturing conditions and the supply chain.
The self-developed battery is tested and refurbished by our specialists after an initial period of use. After the test, batteries with a large part of their original capacity are reinstalled in Circular Bikes. More than 300 Wh are still available. More than sufficient for urban use in slim e-bike. Also interesting: The capacity of each individual bike can be specified exactly and thus also influence its sales price.
The same applies to the frame. After an initial cycle of use, it can be inspected – and if structurally intact – reconditioned. Since no paint is used, the material can be sanded and brushed again. This also visually restores the frame to its original condition.
Furthermore, the Circular Bike is equipped with durable and low-maintenance components, such as a gear shift and belt drive. This minimizes wear and tear. When necessary wear parts are used, care is taken to ensure that their manufacture and supply also follow circular guidelines.
Note: The surfboard holder is included exclusively on the concept vehicle shown here.
Coboc Power Unit
After the battery has made its rounds in the Circular Bike, it still has more than 70% of its original capacity. While maximum miniaturization is one of the basic principles of the slim e-bike – volume and weight are to be kept as low as possible – there are many other fields of application in which the form factor is also important, but not the top priority. For example, a mobile energy storage unit that also does well without the power peaks with which cells are loaded in e-bike use.
For the Coboc Power Unit, we developed a practical and stable housing that fits two of our e-bike batteries, called Core Packs. Thus, 530Wh are available in our example. This means that a standard notebook can be operated continuously for almost nine days. Paired with a solar panel, it is even possible to realize a self-sufficient and mobile energy solution for a wide range of applications – be it in the garden shed, on vacation or even in structurally less developed parts of the world.
We equipped our prototype with six USB-C ports so that various small devices can be charged in parallel, from laptops to smartphones and tablets to cameras.
The Rosenberger connector has two functions. Of course, it can be used to charge the Coboc e-bike, but at the same time it can also be used to connect the solar panel, which fully recharges the power unit in around twelve hours of sunshine.
Test, test, test. In the coming months we will put the Circular Bike and the Power Unit through the wringer. You want to be part of it?