Caution: High voltage! – Brose present the eagerly awaited Drive³ Peak motor in the 48V system and a concept motor with an integrated stepless drivetrain

The tension is rising: After a long period of silence, motor manufacturer Brose are back with a completely new motor system based on a 48-volt circuit instead of the previous 36V version. In addition to new batteries and peripheral elements, Brose are also launching two new motors: the new flagship Brose Drive³ Peak and the Concept Drive with an integrated stepless drivetrain.

“Brose Quality on” is the motto of Brose’s large-scale product campaign. However, the numerous new product announcements show that the focus has not only been on quality but also on quantity. The motor manufacturer is revamping a significant portion of its portfolio and, in the process, introducing a completely new motor system. The Brose motor system goes by the simple name of “Brose Drive System”. Until now, a nominal voltage of 36V has prevailed in Brose’s ebike motor systems, just like in the systems of many industry giants such as Bosch and Shimano. But some manufacturers, including Brose, see the future in a 48V system. The new Brose Drive System, scheduled for commercial launch in 2024, will operate on this higher voltage. In theory, this should offer the potential (pun for electrical engineers😉) to reduce the current due to the higher voltage. As a result, less heat is generated, especially in the cables near the battery, allowing for the installation of power cables with a smaller conductor cross-section. Brose also provide us with another practical reason that reflects the company’s origins in the automotive industry: Years ago, the automotive industry transitioned to 48V and established it as the standard. For strategic and economic reasons, this results in synergies for Brose that should lead to better (quality) standards, availability and prices in the ebike segment. The existing Brose 36V motor system is not cross-compatible with the new 48V system, and a new communication protocol, CANopen, has also been established between the components. This means that the new Brose Drive System requires new batteries, displays, remotes, and all other components necessary for a motor system. For owners of old Brose bikes, the lack of upgrade options is understandably frustrating. However, according to Brose, this decisive transition is the only way to establish a future-proof motor system. At the forefront of the new system is the Brose Drive³ motor, which in its highest configuration, Drive³ Peak, will certainly make appearances in several high-performance eMTBs in the coming year.

Brose’s new top dog – the Brose Drive³ Peak motor in detail

In 2024, the successor in the spirit of the Brose Drive Mag S will be the new Drive³ Peak. Like the previous top model, it provides 410% maximum motor support, but the maximum torque has been increased from 90 Nm to 95 Nm. Weighing 2.9 kg and packed into a magnesium housing, the key parameters have seen little change from the previous model. However, Brose attribute the new drive with an improved design and optimised integration, promising an exceptional riding experience with further reduced noise levels. The previous Brose Drive Mag S was already highly regarded in our previous downhill tests, operating silently on descents. Conversely, uphill sections with a full load were accompanied by a noticeable whirring noise.

The next evolutionary step is stepless – The new Concept Drive motor with integrated stepless drivetrain in detail

We cannot yet say whether the new Concept Drive motor will undergo a name change or if it will be introduced to the ebike market under its current designation. However, we can share with you the concept behind it. The Concept Drive motor, specifically developed for city and trekking ebikes, distinguishes itself with an integrated stepless drivetrain within the motor, rendering an external drivetrain with components like a rear derailleur and cassette unnecessary. It offers a range of 420%, which falls short of the 600% offered by the new Pinion MGU E1.12. Nevertheless, this should be sufficient for urban and trekking use without steep inclines. The Pinion motor, in comparison, features “only” 12 gears, while the Brose motor provides virtually infinite gears. According to Brose, this means that you can always find the perfect gear ratio, facilitated by the new motor’s automatic drive that enables seamless shifting without interrupting torque. Similar to the Drive³ Peak, the motor aims to provide motor assistance of over 410% and is also compatible with the new 48V Brose Drive System. However, the maximum torque is limited to 60 Nm.

The new batteries for the 48V Brose Drive System in detail

The motor manufacturer is adopting a unique approach with the new batteries for the 48V Brose Drive System. Initially, batteries with capacities of 468 Wh and 814 Wh will be available. What sets them apart is that they share the same format and aluminium housing, measuring 385x83x64 mm in dimension. However, the “smaller” battery weighs merely 3 kg, while the battery with the higher capacity, but identical in size, weighs 4.1 kg. The battery is installed in the frame but not fixed, allowing for removal and external charging. Additionally, Brose offer manufacturers various mounting options to offer greater flexibility in frame design. Therefore, you might question why the 468 Wh battery isn’t housed in a smaller casing, resulting in an exceptionally sleek-looking eMTB, for instance? According to Brose, this provides bicycle manufacturers with the opportunity to offer two different configurations using a single frame, resulting in reduced costs that can be passed on to customers. Ultimately, this allows you to choose between a lighter and more affordable ebike with a more centrally positioned center of gravity, or to opt for maximum battery capacity. Additionally, Brose state that with a length of 385 mm, the housing is short enough to fit most S frames. E-mountainbikes with interchangeable battery sizes are not entirely new; for instance, the Orbea Wild, which emerged as the test winner in our extensive E-MOUNTAINBIKE group test, exhibits noticeably improved handling with the smaller battery variant. The decision to offer only one housing might make sense in terms of cost and complexity, but it could also limit manufacturers in their frame design options.

Previous Brose batteries are rendered incompatible with the shift to 48V. Nevertheless, the new system retains the modular design of its predecessor, enabling the integration of third-party battery manufacturers. While Brose are unable to disclose any specific players at present, the groundwork has already been laid. Brose also share intriguing details about their 48V batteries: The Smart Fast Charger is designed to charge at a rate of 220-250W, with the maximum charging power peaking at 350W. As per Brose’s information, this translates to a full battery charge time of approximately 3 to 4 hours.

New remote and display options for the Brose Drive System 2024

The new Brose Drive System is accompanied by a 48V Brose Control series, these are new displays and remotes. The new Control Allround is a combination of a display and a remote. In addition to four buttons on the front, it also features a 1.9″ colour display that provides information about all the important motor data. Special features of this system include an ambient light sensor to adjust the display brightness, a Bluetooth 5.0 interface, and a USB-C charging port located at the back.

Those who prefer a minimalist cockpit, on the other hand, will also find something to their liking at Brose. In order to live up to their reputation as a supplier of complete motor systems, Brose offer a combination of a minimalist Control Remote and a display that can be integrated into the top tube, called Control Integrate, for their new 48V Drive System. The Control Remote features the same four buttons on the front and is equipped with a Bluetooth 5.0 interface. However, it does not have a charging port as the cordless remote is powered by a coin cell battery, similar to the Bosch Mini Remote on the Smart System. Since the remote cannot provide information about the motor data, a useful companion is the Control Integrate display, which can be installed in the top tube. It boasts a 2″ diagonal screen, an ambient light sensor, a Bluetooth interface, and a USB-C charging port.

Behind the scenes, Brose are also keeping busy. The motor manufacturer has announced that partners will have access to an enhanced service network in the future, featuring a cloud-based diagnostic tool. At this stage, it is difficult to estimate how this will impact you as an end customer. Brose is also introducing a remanufacturing process for old ebike drives, known as Reman Drive (Reman being short for Remanufactured). The idea is to breathe new life into old drives, which, according to Brose, not only conserves resources but also reduces at least 21 kg of CO2 emissions per motor.

The new 48V Brose Drive System with the new Drive³ Peak motor appears to have high potential, and this is not solely due to the increased voltage. All other components, including the Brose Concept Drive motor and the new remotes and display, also leave a well-thought-out impression. Our interest was certainly sparked during a brief tête-à-tête at Eurobike 2023. As soon as we have the opportunity to test the new Brose Drive System firsthand, we will evaluate its performance and provide you with more information.

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Words: Rudolf Fischer Photos: Mike Hunger, Brose

About the author

Rudolf Fischer

In his previous life Rudolf was a dab hand at promoting innovation, putting his brain behind big-ticket patent assessments that easily ran into six-or-seven-plus figures. These days, the self-confessed data nerd’s role as editor at DOWNTOWN and E-MOUNTAINBIKE is no less exciting. Given his specialism in connectivity, Rudolf’s often placed on the front line of future mobility conversations, but he’s also big into testing new bikes–both on the daily as a committed commuter and intensively for our group tests. The business economist graduate is as versatile as a Swiss penknife, and that’s no hyperbole. Away from two wheels, his background in parkour means he’s a master of front, side and backflips, plus he speaks German, English, French, Russian and a touch of Esperanto. Japanese remains woefully unmastered, despite his best home-learning attempts. Good to know: Rudolf’s sharp tongue has made him a figure of fear in the office, where he’s got a reputation for flexing a dry wittiness à la Ricky Gervais... interestingly, he's usually the one laughing hardest.