A German research team from Fraunhofer IPA, together with other companies and institutions, found that electric bike motors can be remanufactured using a circular economy approach.
Researchers carried out the AddRE-Mo project to investigate the technical feasibility and ecological and economic potential of remanufacturing electric bicycle motors. They examined the probability of failure of motors from established e-bike manufacturers and tested whether replacement parts with high wear rates, such as gears and torque mounts, could be additively manufactured.
They then selected additive materials and processes and tested component life, noise development and temperature resistance on specially developed test benches and under real loads. They found that remanufacturing offers a bicycle engine that is on par with a newly built engine in terms of quality and offers a potential cost savings of 30 to 40 percent for comparable components.
Given the growing sales figures, with e-bikes accounting for 48 percent of sales in the general bicycle market in 2022, there are more and more e-bikes on the streets of Germany. However, a failed motor is usually replaced in its entirety with a new unit, although it is possible that only one gear is defective.
The researchers see great potential for the approach and, to consolidate their results, will implement the e-bike motor remanufacturing process chain in the new RemanLab learning factory at the Fraunhofer IPA in Bayreuth, which is set to open on May 23, 2023.
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