Electric cargo and utility bikes are becoming an increasingly common sight in big cities, where they are the ideal solution for speedy, climate-friendly transportation and distribution of food, mail, medicine and more. To help with this trend, Schaeffler has been partnering with two-wheeler electric drive specialist Heinzmann to develop an innovative chainless drive system called Free Drive. Schaeffler and Heinzmann first unveiled its innovative chainless drive system to the public in August 2021, and have been using the time since then to get it ready for fleet production. Following successful field testing during the last month, production is now getting underway, with plans to steadily increase capacity over the next few years. The first customer to put in an order for the Free Drive, which boasts highly efficient power transmission from pedal to wheel, is CIP Mobility. CIP’s mocci Smart Pedal Vehicles set new standards in efficient, low-maintenance and sustainable commercial-sector mobility in cities and industrial zones. Developed as an innovative micromobility platform, the mocci cargo bikes break with many established conventions in the bicycle industry, combining smart hardware with intelligent software and cutting-edge materials. The Free Drive is an optimally matched system that consists of a pedal generator, drive motor, customer-specific battery solution, and human-machine interface. It’s sold by Heinzmann to bicycle manufacturers and fleet operators. Core component of the system is its pedal generator developed by Schaeffler. It produces constant pedal resistance and provides electricity for the motor in the rear-wheel hub. It is designed in such a way that pushing the pedals requires significantly less muscle power than with conventional e-bike drives – a major benefit for cargo bike riders, especially on long delivery routes. Surplus electrical energy is stored in the bike’s battery for later use. In this way, the Free Drive can deliver a total drive output of 250 watt.One of the key benefits of this serial hybrid drive for bikes is that it has no chain, belt, gear rings, sprockets, or other mechanical drive components, so it is much less prone to mechanical wear than conventional e-bikes.