A first look at the Bosch Integrated PowerTube ebike battery
Bosch recently announced the release of its first integrated e-bike battery pack; the PowerTube 500. This is planned to appear on bikes in 2018 and looks set to transform their range in years to come, making it harder to tell at a glance if a machine is an e-bike or not.
Bosch PowerTube Battery Design
The lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 500Wh and measures 349x84x65mm. Bosch has said that, weighing only 2.8kg, it is one of the lightest battery packs on the market, although it is still about 200g heavier than the external PowerPack 500.
There are two different versions of the PowerTube, one relatively wide and flat, the other slightly taller and slimmer, so manufacturers can select the version which best fits their chosen frame design. They can also choose how they wish the battery to be inserted into the frame - via the top, bottom or either of the two sides - and whether to use it as a fully integrated unit, covered by a removable section of frame, or simply recess it into a down tube.
When fully integrated, it is clipped securely into the frame with a two-stage unlocking mechanism to avoid accidental damage. When this is unlocked, the e-bike battery is only released a short distance and must then be detached manually. As a result, it is both easier to remove and less likely to fall on your foot while you do so.
Bosch PowerTube Pros
One of the slight downsides of ebike design in aesthetic terms has been the very visible battery pack. With the battery integrated into the frame, the machine looks much more stylish.
As well as this, the PowerTube 500 is designed to be used with all types of bike frame, whether hybrid, mountain or road bike and, like external battery packs, can work in parallel with another battery. Since it is easy to remove, it can be changed for a fresh one on longer rides and can also be charged both on and off the bike.
Its internal technology is the same as the PowerPack, which means that it can be used in conjunction with all Bosch motors currently produced. It seems likely that they plan to include the integrated battery across their range in the future.
Bosch PowerTube Cons
Another possible problem could arise if Bosch makes any changes, however minor, to the design of its battery packs. If this were to happen, it could make it difficult or impossible to find replacements to fit your bike.
People focusing on practicality rather than style will probably note that the ideal location for the battery is as low and close to the motor as possible….and therefore not in the downtube. Preference for a more optimally located onboard (as opposed to inboard) battery will probably be seen on sports eBikes where optimal weight distribution will be more important than looks.
Despite these minor downsides, the PowerTube is a very important development in e-bike battery technology. With the industry as a whole moving towards better battery integration, it will be interesting to see how it develops as time passes.
One thing is for sure now that Bosch are making in frame power tube batteries consumers no longer have to take a chance on one of the brands using potentially less reliable but more stylish systems.
Unique Dual Battery
It will be possible to use the Bosch Dual Battery technology to use to power packs together to double the capacity and range. It is not yet clear if this will be an aftermarket option or an OEM option only.
As soon as we know you will know J
Here’s to cycling and never stopping!