Panasonic's Lithium Vivi RX-10S is no ordinary electric bicycle. For one thing, it has a battery that helps to power the onboard electric motor for assisted peddling. But what really sets it apart from the competition is its regenerative braking system.
A regenerative brake is a mechanism that reduces vehicle speed by converting some of its kinetic activity into another form of energy. In the case of the Panasonic Vivi RX-10S, the regenerative braking system stores the energy in the bicycle's 2.5-kilogram secondary Lithium-ion battery. This energy can then be used to extend the assisted travel range from 90 kilometers (without regenerative system) to approximately 125 kilometers (with the system).
Cyclists can choose to generate the maximum regenerative power by squeezing the brake levers on both sides, or squeezing the brake lever on one side to produce half the maximum power. The bicycle also comes with an Automatic Mode that automatically switches between four levels of peddle assistance using a built-in torque sensor. For instance, the assistance force increases when the bicycle is going uphill and deactivates when it detects a downhill ride.
Panasonic is apparently not the only manufacturer making use of regenerative braking to charge its bicycle's secondary Lithium-ion battery. Sanyo is believed to have had a similar technology in its "Enacle" bicycle series.
Slated for launch in Japan on August 20, the Panasonic Vivi RX-10S will retail for 150,000 yen (US$1,395). The company expects to sell about 3,000 units of the electric bicycle in a year.
(Source: Crave Asia)