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Batteries of the future

Researchers all over the world are looking for new battery types and technologies. The goal is to lower the size, weight, charging time and price of batteries while increasing their safety.

In e-mobility, all is nothing without them: batteries. They deliver the “juice” for countless vehicles and applications that are exciting for the reason they don’t need to be connected to a power outlet all the time. Yet even though the technology has made great progress over the past decades, batteries still seem a little old-school compared with state-of-the-art high-tech electronics. For example, the microprocessor of a smartphone is able to perform billions of operations within seconds. However, charging the battery takes hours. In addition, batteries are the heaviest of all the installed components. Consumers might find this annoying, but it is simply in the nature of things that energy storage devices and the chemical reactions inside them can’t be miniaturised to the same extent as is customary in the semiconductor industry. In our daily lives, we encounter a number of different battery types:

  • Cheap alkaline batteries, for example in remote controls and watches
  • Nickel-cadmium batteries, with similar uses as alkaline batteries, but rechargeable
  • Lithium-ion batteries, for example in cameras, power drills, and electric cars
  • Lithium-polymer batteries, for example in smartphones and tablets. Lithium polymer batteries are a special type of lithium-ion battery that can be built very flat, since a gel electrolyte is used instead of a liquid one. However, they are more sensitive than lithium-ion batteries.

Even though lithium batteries are the gold standard today, they have certain downsides that can’t be overlooked. Most people have seen pictures of smartphones or electric cars whose batteries caught fire or even exploded—a horror scenario. This is why researchers all over the world are looking for new battery types and technologies. The goal: Lowering the size, weight, charging time and price of batteries while increasing their safety. In addition, the elements of lithium and cobalt (the main components of many batteries) are not available in unlimited quantities.

Magnesium batteries could be a potential successor. This technology is at the focus of a research project by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Helmholtz Institute in Ulm. “A magnesium battery would offer decisive advantages over conventional lithium-ion batteries,” the KIT writes in a press release. “As an anode material, magnesium enables much higher energy densities and would be much safer.” Another benefit: Magnesium is about 3000 times more common than lithium and easier to recycle. “If Europe makes good progress with the development, then magnesium batteries might also help to reduce the dominance of Asian battery manufacturers and establish a competitive battery industry in Europe,” the KIT also writes. Another candidate for what is known as a solid-state battery is, surprisingly, glass. The sodium contained in glass is one of the most common elements. Sh batteries with a special glass electrolyte are potentially capable of being charged within minutes, while offering better safety than flammable lithium-ion batteries. However, some time is going to pass before such a battery technology will be ready for the market and will be able to replace lithium-ion batteries.

maxon explores the world of batteries

Batteries manufactured by drive specialist maxon? What may sound like a plan for the future is already reality. maxon began its journey into the world of power storage with the development of the BIKEDRIVE, a retrofitting kit that turns a regular bicycle into an e-bike. After some difficulties with the battery supplier, maxon decided to build its own batteries. However, this is easier said than done. Manufacturing batteries requires engineering creativity, technical knowledge, and specialised equipment. “For us, this is a relatively new, but exciting field,” says Benny Keller of maxon advanced robotics & systems (mars).

A battery pack consists of several individual cells that typically deliver a voltage of 3.7 V. Depending on how these individual cells are wired, the battery pack has different specifications. If the cells are wired in series, their voltage are added. Wiring cells in parallel increases the battery capacity. Creating an optimal combination of such individual cells requires skill and technical knowledge. “In addition, there are many safety standards that need to be met,” Benny Keller explains. A battery pack isn’t finished after the cells have been professionally glued and wired. A battery management system (BMS) is also needed. The electronics are usually installed on a PCB in the battery casing. The specialists at maxon have developed and produced their own BMS. The BMS ensures that the cells are charged and discharged evenly. This is critical for the battery’s service life. There are also safety aspects to a BMS. For example, it prevents that a battery is charged or subjected to load at excessively low or high temperatures.

It’s clear that, as a newcomer to the scene, maxon can’t start mass-producing batteries from one day to the next. However, the workshop in Giswil is very well equipped for the production of prototypes and small output quantities. For larger quantities, maxon relies on the assistance of renowned manufacturers in southern Germany. Naturally, maxon batteries are designed for e-mobility and robotics applications.

For further information please contact maxon Australia tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

Ambulance E-bikes in a remote African village

In first world countries we take for granted how easy a journey can be to access emergency health care. In a small town in Mozambique, Health Organisation SolidarMed has teamed up with maxon motor to retrofit two Ambulance bikes with maxon’s BIKEDRIVE.

Across dirt roads in a remote town in Northern Africa, pushbikes with special trailers are what is used to transport pregnant women and other patients to the closest health centre. Ambassador for SolidarMed and Olympic Mountain Bike Champion, Nino Schurter, visited the town and tested the bike trailers “I’m an elite athlete, but even I would find it hard to pull the heavy trailer with the patient on it” he said. Maxon motor is supporting SolidarMeds E-bike Ambulance project with two BIKEDRIVE retrofitting kits. The kits are fitted to prototypes that will be tested & developed over two years, and evaluated at the end of 2019. If the project is a success, SolidarMed is looking to expand the E-bike Ambulance project across the entire region.

For further information on maxon’s BIKEDRIVE visit or call +61 2 9457 7477.

For more information on SolidarMed’s project in Mozambique, please visit

Fresh, local, organic food delivered emission free.

Maxon BIKEDRIVE is lightweight & powerful and can be fitted to nearly any bicycle, instantly adding up to 50 Nm power and achieving speeds up to 45 km/h.

Delivering organic, seasonal, locally produced fresh food with zero carbon emissions around the hilly town of Lausanne in Switzerland is a thriving business for local company, Plateforme Bio Lokal. Owners Charles-Louis Mourruau and Hansjörg Haas transport boxes on their cargo bikes, with fresh produce weighing more than 100 kgs, working 12-14 hours per day and cycling up to 80km per day. And it’s possible because they use maxon’s BIKEDRIVE on their bikes. The BIKEDRIVEs DC motor, battery pack and powergrip is lightweight at 3.5kg and powerful delivering 50 Nm of torque and accelerating from 0 to 32 km/h in just 3 seconds. For Hansjörg Haas “The desire for sustainable food is increasing. At the same time the streets are clogged with cars. Therefore cargo bikes are the means of transportation of the future”. For more information on maxon’s BIKEDRIVE call maxon motor Australia +61 2 9457 7477 or visit

Maxon motor posts record revenues.

Throughout 2016 maxon invested significantly in expanding its facilities, bringing a large number of new technologies & innovations to market and expanded on their market leading position.

Sachseln/Switzerland – The maxon motor group further increased its revenues in 2016. Compared with the previous year, revenues grew by 5% to a new record level of CHF 422.5 million (from CHF 402.5 million in the previous year). The number of employees rose to 2,500 and for the first time in company history, maxon employs more people abroad than in Switzerland. The highest revenues were achieved in medical technology (43% market share), followed by industrial automation & robotics (26%) and aerospace industries (6.5%). Investment in R&D rose to CHF 28.5 million in 2016 (up from 27.1 million).

Maxon is increasingly becoming a specialist in mechatronics and systems, launching the first fully sterilisable drive system this year. Drive combination units consisting of brushless DC motor, gearhead and sensor are designed to withstand 1000 autoclave cycles. Maxon’s new DC motor controllers also stand up to extreme ambient conditions. The electronics are protected against contaminants and corrosion by a polymer coating. In addition, the device is highly resistant against vibrations and shocks.

For the e-bike market, maxon motor developed a new S-Peledec motor with a 500 Wh battery and intuitive operation for urban applications. The bike reaches speeds of up to 45 km/h and the device stands out because it can convert any regular bicycle into an e-bike. maxon is also active in the field of autonomous delivery robots. This is a market where the energy-efficient and lightweight drive systems by maxon are in particularly high demand.

For more information on DC motors and accessories please contact maxon motor Australia tel +61 2 9457 7477.

2016: maxon motor’s year that was.

A year of highlights: maxons involvement in technology and innovation throughout 2016.

For more information please contact maxon motor Australia on tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

maxon introduced MARS (Maxon Advanced Robotics & Systems) a new facility dedicated solely to DC motors in mechatronics drive systems

 PIC_300V_brushless_motor195px 300V brushless DC motor for use submerged in oil and designed specifically for Australia’s increasing ROV and subsea market
 Thruster_brushless_DC_motor450px maxon released the very popular ROV Thruster Range, with modified control units available for use in water. Including subsea motors, gearheads, thrusters and compensators
 Brushless_frameless_motor_black-195px Brushless frameless flat motors (pancake motors) are available on request in a frameless form. Suitable for high torque and low speed applications
 10mm_brushless_flat_DC_motor195px A tiny brushless flat DC motor with a diameter of 10mm that achieves speeds of up to 22,000rpm was used in a Space application
 BL_DC_MOTOR_2_GH-450px maxon Australia delivered a company first – a right angle spiroid and planetary inline gearhead fitted either end of a brushless DC motor
 1024px-Sydney_harbour_bridge_dusk Sydney’s Iconic Harbour Bridge received a climbing robot that inspects areas of the Bridge for disrepair or damage
 epos4-module-24-1 A new DC motor position controller was released. With tiny dimensions of 60mm x 62mm and able to drive both brushed and brushless DC motors up to 1500W with 98% efficiency
 EN_Program_2016-17_15cm144dpi The new catalogue was released in May with an unparralled number of new DC motors, gearheads and controllers available
 DC_Servo_Linear_Actuation_495px A custom long ball screw linear actuator, driven by a DC servo motor and gearhead, showed maxon motor’s ability to provide tailored solutions
 ECX-450px The first ECX DC motor was delivered to an Australian University. The motor has extremely low noise at very high speeds
 deakin-herosurg Doctors are able to assess a patient up to 1,000km away thanks to an Australian University and robotics haptic technology
 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA An ROV that takes live video and underwater pictures and streams them directly to your smartphone, tablet or laptop
 photo450px Australia’s defence industry received a robust right angle DC servo gear motor, for a very demanding application
 Seamor_2 An ROV fitted with maxon DC motors found the largest submarine built in WWII, lying 190 metres below the ocean. These special DC motor combinations can reach depths up (down!) to 6,000m
 Andre walking1 An Israeli company, ReWalk Robotics, developed an Exo-skeleton specifically helping quadriplegic people to walk again. Maxon motors control the movement of the hips and knees a new site for innovation by maxon motor was announced!
 DC motor Traceability maxon announces a system that tracks and records every component manufactured in maxon DC servo motors
 rental_maxon_bikedrive_team_mr_450px Try before you buy: the maxon motor BIKEDRIVE rental facility opens in Giswil, Obwalden
 ecx_motors New sizes of DC motor and Planetary Gearheads available for configuration through maxon’s online tool
 ec60mm-brushless-dc-motor-495px A unique DC motor and gearhead combination was developed for an Australian customer providing solutions for robotic rehabilitation
 mt40_450px For use in subsea applications, maxon’s MT-30 thruster is pressure tolerant up to 6,000 meters with oil compensation. The propeller is modified for low noise operation. Other features include: Maximum bollard thrust of 10kgs, Voltage of 27 and weighs slightly over 900gms
 deakin-herosurg A surgical robot gives surgeons the ability to perform microsurgery from thousands of kilometres away, with an added sense of touch
 mt30 maxon motor updated their subsea thruster – three sizes received updated performance levels, being the 20, 30 and 40mm diameter units
 ecx_motors maxon motor added sterilisable brushless DC motors and gearheads to their online configurator
 driven_0216_cover_450px maxon released driven, their bi-annual magazine that focused on developments in the medical industry
 ecx-speed-and-standard-new-motors Maxon release two new varieties of brushless DC motor – the ECX SPEED 16 and ECX SPEED High-Power DC motors

Try before you buy: the maxon motor BIKEDRIVE.

The first of its kind, BIKEDRIVE, is now available for rent at the maxon test center in Giswil, Obwalden.

maxon motor developed a powerful three-part drive system that is able to be fitted by Bike dealers to nearly every bike. The BIKEDRIVE is a powerful motor, battery and throttle grip that delivers nearly three times the propulsion than muscle power alone. The same principals were applied from the expertise gained in the maxon motor Mars/ Space division, making this specialised technology available to everyone. maxon’s BIKEDRIVE is a first in the e-bike field providing nearly 50 Nm torque, in a compact design (weighing less than 6kgs) and achieving nearly 90% efficiency.

A selection of bikes is available at the testing facility: freeride, mountain, fat and city bikes. Registration is open for a special session on September 24 with former downhill world champion Albert Iten, who mentored maxon in the development of the e-bike motor.

For more information please visit and see below details for the BIKEDRIVE test center.


maxon BIKEDRIVE Testcenter Giswil

Industriestrasse 24, 6074 Giswil
Opening hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MO – FR, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. SA
Prices: ½ a day from CHF 25.- 1 day from CHF 32.-

+41 (41) 666 18 29

Cycling training with Albert Iten
September 24 and October 22, 2016
Reservation: +41 (41) 666 18 29

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