Bicycle and electric bicycle (e-bike) usage rates in cities like Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Antwerp as a form of urban mobility are among the highest in the world. In Copenhagen, bikes outnumber cars by more than five to one. Every day, the thousands of people traveling on two wheels help reduce congestion and pollution issues as cities become more heavily populated. Research by consulting firm Deloitte confirms the rise of e-bikes as a faster, easier and healthier option for commuting, and growing sales figures indicate that more people are embracing them than ever before. According to the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry, e-bikes are now by far the most sold electric vehicle on the European market. So while for now, in most parts of the world, cars still prevail as the preferred mode of transport, I-FEVS co-founder and president Pietro Perlo recognizes the huge shift underway as cities prioritize investments in cycling infrastructure and consumers switch their cars for greener alternatives.
Perlo recognizes safety as a critical factor holding people back from fully embracing bikes and e-bikes. An online study by YouGov found that almost half (43%) of people across all age groups and genders living in cities said that a safer option would encourage them to cycle more. With this in mind, electric vehicle research and development company I-FEVS set out to create a new type of e-bike with safety top of mind.
“We started the company focusing on electromobility, convinced it would become mainstream in the near future,” Perlo said. “We address urban mobility and are strongly motivated to develop best-in-class cars and bikes with a focus on safety, ergonomics, efficiency, interactivity, sustainability and affordability.”
At first glance, the I-FEVS e-bike looks different to other models on the market. For one, it has three wheels – one at the front and two at the rear, set 20 centimeters apart. This unique, patented design helps to make the e-bike more stable, easier to turn and reduces the risk of riders becoming unbalanced in wet and icy conditions.
“The two independent rear-wheels have a novel suspension system to ensure a comfortable ride,” Perlo said. “We designed our bike to be as safe as possible while delivering the performance of a cargo bike. It’s for everyone to enjoy and feel confident riding – young and old.”
Modular by design, I-FEVS’ e-bike serves multiple uses, including commuting, urban delivery and day-to-day family travel. Solar panels encase the e-bike’s high strength nanostructured steel square-tubed frame, charging the onboard electric motor as it drives.
“The high efficiency thin film photovoltaics perform active balancing of the battery pack,” Perlo added. “It’s another feature we’ve patented. We’re also implementing a level of interactivity that is not available today by putting onboard a network of machine learning boards that transform the bike into an intelligent device.”
Currently at the pre-series funding stage, I-FEVS designed and developed the entire bike on the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform. The company’s automotive industry roots means the team used CATIA V5 for other projects and decided to transition to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Their aim: bring all disciplines within a single environment and manage the entire product development lifecycle with one solution.
Using the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform, we are experiencing a continuous stream of interaction among our people.
Before moving to the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform, I-FEVS assessed whether a cloud-based solution would be suitable for its needs. The company’s leaders had concerns around data security but Dassault Systèmes demonstrated how the cloud delivers robust security features and full data control.
“When you move to the cloud, the first thing you have in mind is that you’re sharing documentation on a public platform,” Perlo said. “Then, we went step by step and we understood we could manage the confidentiality and security of our data properly and that it remained under our ownership.”
Through their strong partnership, I-FEVS and Dassault Systèmes work closely to ensure the success of the platform implementation.
“The engagement from Dassault Systèmes has been very good and we’ve appreciated their support,” Perlo said. “The jump from CATIA V5 to 3DEXPERIENCE is a big change in approach. Our commitment to make the change was driven by the promise of significantly improving collaboration and having a single environment for managing the entire product lifecycle. Now, we’re beginning to work in an entirely new way, and I recommend the change to everyone. The cloud is forcing us to rethink our overall design and review processes and collaborate better than ever before.”
I-FEVS handles all design processes in house and uses CATIA on the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform to bring innovative new concepts like the e-bike to life.
“We are able to think big,” said Marco Biasiotto, head of the mechanical department at I-FEVS. “CATIA is a tool that helps you to experiment and visualize your ideas. Davide Penserini, who conceived the design of the new e-bike, and Ivo Rinaudo, who performed the kinematics, used CATIA to design the e-bike frame and suspension system in a very short timeframe.”
The team benefits from seamless workflows and expects to achieve even greater time savings as it moves towards production.
“All design aspects including design concept, mechanical design, kinematics simulations and project presentation are managed faster and in a much more rational way,” Perlo said. “The construction of prototypes remains necessary, but the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform allowed us to radically reduce the necessary steps to get to pre-series. In a few months, we’ve moved from completely new concepts to working prototypes.”
I-FEVS plans to use SIMULIA on the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform to achieve a seamless data exchange between modeling and simulation. This “MODSIM” approach helps continuously refine the I-FEVS e-bike portfolio before reaching final production.
“By introducing SIMULIA, we’ll have everything in one place, and it will allow us to adjust the design and make it more robust and stable based on our simulation findings covering kinematics, fatigue, crash tests and aerodynamics,” Perlo added. “We will save a lot of time and cost.”
Traceability was a key reason we turned to the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform. We must care for the e-bike from design to end of life.
As I-FEVS progresses through the concept, prototype and pre-series phases, the company plans to use the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform to establish a continuous data flow across the e-bike’s entire development lifecycle.
“The way we organize ourselves internally will develop to follow the lifecycle management of the product,” Biasiotto said. “That carries through into how we share and centrally store our data to ensure we see the bigger picture across our processes. So far, using the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform, we are experiencing a continuous stream of interaction among our people.”
The company takes advantage of ENOVIA for product variant management and will expand its use for project management to achieve full traceability at every stage. This visibility will help I-FEVS comply with industry safety standards and regulations.
“Traceability was a key reason we turned to the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform,” Perlo explained. “We must care for the e-bike from design to end of life. Traceability is not just to comply with regulations. We need to have full control of what we propose to our customers.”
I-FEVS’ ambitions reach beyond changing the way that people travel. Through its collaboration with Dassault Systèmes, the company is working to create a perfect replica of the physical bike in the virtual world to handle ongoing maintenance.
“We are automotive people,” Perlo explained. “We want to produce the way automotive companies do and that means we want to introduce virtual twins to actively manage the e-bike at all stages. The continuous exchange of data between the physical vehicle and a live, virtual model has many implications on design, maintenance, product improvement and management throughout its life.”
To monitor e-bikes on the road, I-FEVS will use the virtual twin to gather live data and use that information to optimize performance and manage parts. The 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform will help to identify worn or outdated components that need to be replaced to ensure longevity.
“The virtual twin will help us to identify when to change parts and update firmware, how to effectively manage predictive maintenance, how to best manage the battery pack and deliver future product refinements,” Biasiotto explained. “We are pursuing a strong collaboration not only with our industry partners but also with our customers. We want them to be actively involved in our vision for a new world and the virtual twin will help to nurture that relationship.”
I hope we can combine our creativity and technical know-how to create the next generation of sustainable mobility solutions that serve people and the planet.
Forming strong R&D partnerships with key industry players is integral to I-FEVS’ innovation spirit and ability to pioneer new product concepts.
“One of our key strengths is our collaboration with around 150 R&D organizations, including Magnetto Automotive and ArcelorMittal to develop high-strength materials; Cidaut and the University of Surrey on vehicle dynamics; Dana and Valeo on powertrain development; and STMicroelectronics and Infineon on machine learning boards,” Perlo said. “This enables us to cover the complex multidisciplinary facets of the mobility sector. When we set out on our digital transformation, we needed a platform that would enable us to share our vision and facilitate close working relationships. The 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform delivers all the capabilities to facilitate this.”
It is still early days, but I-FEVS is already benefiting from the value of the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform.
“In a short space of time, we have radically changed the way we work,” Biasiotto said. “It is difficult to quantify cost savings yet, but we can already see a big difference in the way our partners look at us. As a company that wants to be perceived as an innovator, we must use the most advanced tools, and the industry can see that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
The I-FEVS team hopes it won’t be long before its e-bikes are seen on the roads in cities across Europe.
“We are opening up pre-orders soon,” Perlo said. “We’re excited by what we could achieve, and we are confident that demand for our unique e-bikes will take off. In many ways our values are aligned with those of Dassault Systèmes. Together, I hope we can combine our creativity and technical know-how to create the next generation of sustainable mobility solutions that serve people and the planet.”
Founded in 2011, I-FEVS focuses on the engineering and advanced manufacturing of new electrical vehicle concepts. Supported by European Commission R&D grants, the mission of this Italian research and development company is to design, simulate and construct best-in-class urban mobility vehicles focused on safety, security, low energy consumption, ergonomics, robustness and reduced total cost of ownership. I-FEVS holds over 140 patents and trademarks related to its development activities.
For more information: www.ifevs.com