NuVinci continuously variable planetary (CVP) technology set for pedal-electric hybrids
By Mike Hanlon
September 11, 2006
September 12, 2006 One of the many inventions with which the extraordinary Leonardo da Vinci is credited is the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), a technology that has only just come into common usage 500 years after his foresightedness was committed to parchment. NuVinci is a new highly adaptable and scalable variation on the CVT theme that looks set to make its mark – developed by Fallbrook Technologies, continuously variable planetary (CVP) NuVinci technology promises a practical and economical CVT for both human-powered and motor-powered vehicles and machines. The NuVinci CVP is applicable to any product that uses a transmission, including bicycles, light electric vehicles, agricultural equipment, automobiles and utility class wind turbines and an announcement overnight heralds the first use of the new technology by well-known electric-powered vehicle manufacturer Currie Technologies in hybrid electric bicycles and electric scooters which will combine the NuVinci CVP with the Currie Electro-Drive drive system. The first product will be seen before the end of the year and already looks set to give the pedal-electric hybrid bicycle remarkable new capabilities.
Under the agreement, Currie will create a new family of light electric vehicles (LEVs) whose enhanced performance makes them a practical alternative to gas-powered vehicles.
The NuVinci CVP is a CVT that also functions as a planetary gear set. It typically has a central idler, a set of balls distributed about the idler, a rotatable input disc on one side of the idler and the balls and a rotatable output disc positioned on the other side of the idler and the balls. Tilting the axes of the balls varies their respective contact diameters with the input and output discs, varying the transmission ratio. Valvoline will begin supplying NuVinci brand CVP transmission fluid to Fallbrook in mid-2006. The CVP transmission fluids will have properties specifically designed for transmitting torque between two smooth rolling elements. The fluids will also provide lubrication to protect elements from wear, dissipate heat, and dampen vibrations in the transmission, just as conventional transmission fluids do in geared transmissions.
The new Currie IZIP hybrid electric bike has an Electro-Drive electric hub motor drive system that powers the front wheel, with pedals and a rear-wheel drivetrain just like a conventional bike. The NuVinci CVP will serve as a rear-wheel drivetrain, replacing a traditional derailleur or internal geared hub and improving the rider’s overall cycling experience.
The IZIP Fusion 1000 NuVinci electric scooter will use both the patented Currie Electro-Drive system and the NuVinci CVP, leveraging the benefits of both technologies.
"We are very excited to be introducing these new hybrid electric bikes and scooters that will literarily change the way people move. These are some of the most energy-efficient, economical powered vehicles available today" said Larry Pizzi, the companies President and Chief Executive. "They are also quite unique in that they don’t look like an electric bicycle that traditionally has unconventional shapes and bulky battery compartments. At first pass, you will not think they are electric powered."
In the near future Currie plans to design a significantly expanded line of LEV models using the NuVinci CVP. “We’re excited about making NuVinci technology a part of our IZIP hybrid product line,” said Dr. Malcolm R. Currie, founder of Currie Technologies, Inc. “These vehicles offer riders new and better choices, and represent an outstanding marketing opportunity for specialty retailers.”
Currie went on to say, "These unique hybrid electric bikes are a timely addition to our product range. I believe that the time has finally come for a paradigm shift in the way people all over the world think about the economic and environmental impact of fossil fuel burning vehicles. These affordable high performance hybrid electric bicycles will enhance people’s lives by stretching the household budget and our unique designs will appeal to a wide demographic of cyclists for recreation, transportation, and make for enjoyable exercise and family fun."
“Currie’s history of innovation in the design and manufacture of electric vehicles makes them a perfect partner for Fallbrook,” said William Klehm III, Fallbrook’s CEO. “This agreement moves us closer to our goal of providing affordable, advanced technology that will get more people on LEVs.”
Currie’s IZIP hybrid bikes will be available in Q4 2006, with IZIP Fusion 1000 NuVinci scooters becoming available in early 2007.