Driven Technologies is looking for crowdfunding to bring its innovative Orbit Drive bevel differential gearset for e-bikes to market. The idea is to provide a continuously variable drive system that is completely enclosed in a cast housing so it’s hidden away from the elements.
This product comes out of a chainless drivetrain concept from CeramicSpeed, although Driven Technologies is a separate company and the tech has now been developed in a different direction.
Orbit Drive combines human and electric power in a small gearset between the pedals of an e-bike. The combined power is transferred to the rear wheel with a chain, belt, or shaft drive. The system has no exposed gears and no derailleurs; just a small bevel differential that’s inspired by the drivetrains of hybrid vehicles.
It’s probably easier if you just check out this quick video from Driven Technologies to get an idea of how it works…
The technology started out as a chainless drivetrain concept at Ceramic Speed before Driven Technologies was formed to develop the project and take it to market. Driven says that it had “a eureka moment” last year when it discovered that “an electric hybrid vehicle drive system is one of the better solutions to propel an e-bike”.
“This led us down the road of building such a system, patent-protecting the technology, and bringing it to market,” says Driven Technologies.
“We introduced our system, called the Orbit Drive, [at Eurobike] in Germany this June to great industry and press accolades.”
What is the problem Driven Technologies is trying to solve here?
“Most e-bikes still use 100-year-old technology such as greasy chains and exposed gear selecting systems that require frequent maintenance and are prone to failure,” says Driven Technologies’ chief technology officer (CTO) Jason Smith.
“Do cars have exposed transmissions and chains? Absolutely not. Then why do today’s e-bikes have exposed drivetrains? We’re proud to share that Driven Technologies now as a completely enclosed drivetrain modelled after modern hybrid electric vehicles. It's small yet powerful.
“This little ball of gears, which is the heart of the drive, changes everything. Technically, it’s called a variable speed bevel differential gearset, or we call it the Orbit Drive.
“The patented gearset allows for two inputs, a rider and an electric motor, to create one seamlessly balanced output.
“The Orbit Drive maximises every e-bike performance metric. The drive provides infinite gearing and perfectly smooth shifting. It’s lighter and much more efficient than most e-bike drive systems and therefore it’s better for the planet.
“The Orbit Drive contains fewer parts, features regenerative braking, and allows for more range between battery charges and, best of all, it’s completely enclosed and requires almost no maintenance.”
Driven Technologies says that it is preparing to bring the Orbit Drive to market having already built three test bikes featuring the technology.
Jason Smith says, “We’re currently producing battle-ready drives that will be shipped to potential partners so they can put the Orbit Drive through its paces.”
Driven Technologies says that it has had interest from “some of the largest players in the e-bike industry” since Eurobike, many of them surprised at what it has quickly achieved. It says it is currently in talks with several of these companies and is now looking for investment through crowdfunding.
“The Wefunder equity raise will allow Driven to bring the Orbit Drive to the world, enabling the company to fund advanced manufacturing, sales, and iterations of the drive for specific OEMs [original equipment manufacturers],” it says.