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Electric Bike Charging Gets SMS Payment and Text Notification System

German group led by Vodaphone are testing an electric bicycle battery charging scheme that, like their larger electric car descendants, sends a text message to the owner when the battery is fully recharged.

Dusseldorf -- Vodaphone, the city of Dusseldorf, Germany, along with Mennekes Electrotechik, Sunnhill Technologies, and Locica have partnered to test an electric bicycle charging scheme that sends a text message to the owner when the battery is fully recharged.

The system works with removable batteries, which the owner places into a small cubical and connects to a charging cable. The electric is paid for through the mobile phone. Initially through the trial period, the electricity will be free.

The German testing organization TUV Rhineland is overseeing the safety aspects of the system.

No photos are available of the system, so it's premature to speculate on how the developers have compensated for the current plethora of e-bike battery connectors, battery chemistries and configurations that range from chunky brick-like shapes that sit on a rack above the rear wheel to sleek tubular models that mount in the frame.

Like the current situation with electric cars, however, a common standard appears to be evolving called EnergyBus that would be the e-bike equivalent of CanBus in automotive world and the J1772 connector. The standard was highlighted during the recent Taiwan bicycle trade show.

Explains the EnergyBus consortium, "The EnergyBus connectors and bus system makes it possible to provide one charger for every battery, independent of chemistry and size."

Specifically with reference to public charging systems like the Vodaphone project, the consortium notes:

Public charging / locking and battery-swapping stations as well as renting or leasing business models are made possible with EnergyBus. An anti- theft device can block all components if no key is present. Personal mobile devices like cellphones, digital cameras, music players can be powered and charged with a simple adapter. Cellphones can be used as interface devices to the vehicle displaying speed, battery-level, position and other available data from the bus.

Maybe most intriguing of all, the EnergyBus system has been engineered for Vehicle-to-Grid capabilities, something that's been touted for a decade with electric cars, but little progress has been made other than efforts by the University of Delaware.

Electric bicycle manufacturers currently members of the EnergyBus consortium include: Bionx (suppliers of hub motors for several brands), BMW, Gepida, KTM, Matra, Stromer and Winora. Curiously, none of the Vodaphone project members appear to be members of EnergyBus. Does this suggest a possible competing standard?

Any readers knowledgeable of either program, would you care to illuminate us?

Posted By: Bill Moore [30-Mar-2013]