© Hit the Green

Golf caddy with ECI drive drives all by itself

Should I carry or pull my golf equipment? This discussion ends with the “S-Walk” from Swiss company Hit the Green. After all, the motto of the first smart golf trolley is: just let it drive.

If the golfer walks fast, it speeds up; if he walks slowly, it reduces its speed. If the golfer stops, so does the “S-Walk.” The first intelligent golf trolley carries clubs and balls all by itself and the golfer doesn’t have to touch it — and it adjusts its speed automatically. A sensor in the handle makes this possible; the sensor measures the distance from the player and keeps it constant. Cyril Beaulieu, inventor of the device and Managing Director of Hit the Green, explains: “I wanted to develop a trolley that adapts to the person and not vice versa. If it’s slippery or there’s a steep downhill grade, you have to run along behind other electric golf trolleys. Not with the S-Walk: When it’s going uphill, it increases its power; on the downhill, it slows down automatically.”

Frame made of carbon

The hobby golfer had developed bicycles for high-end companies for many years. Their light weight and technical features could also be applied to the golf sport, he thought. In addition to the automatic speed adjustment, Beaulieu also wanted to make the trolley lightweight and very stable. That’s why he relied on a frame made of carbon for the “S-Walk.” While other golf mobiles weigh between 15 and 20 kilograms, the “S-Walk” weighs just 8.5 kilograms. Furthermore, with its lithium battery, it can manage 54 holes or three golf courses with a single charge — twice as much as other electric trolleys. Efficient drive motors from ebm-papst, which are installed in the struts, provide the endurance. Two ECI drives propel the “S-Walk.”

High-powered and quiet: the ECI motor

The cooperation came about because Beaulieu was not convinced by a competitor’s drive. “The motor was very loud,” he says. “And it didn’t have the power I wanted.” ebm-papst could help and provided a drive motor for the test. “Even though it had the same compact dimensions, it was much more powerful than the competing product and it could climb steeper slopes,” says Beaulieu. It was also more efficient. And ebm-papst was also able to improve its noise level. Pierre Matje, Head of Sales at ebm-papst Switzerland, explains: “We optimized the planetary gear noise on the standard motor and designed a customized shaft outlet.”

Intelligence when transporting equipment on the course and when it comes to its own transportation — the lightweight S-Walk is also easy to pack up. (Photo | Hit the Green)

Hit the Green put the improved drive through its paces. It tested the drive on steep uphill and downhill slopes, in rain and heat, loaded with a few clubs and then a lot of clubs. “The ebm-papst motor was the best candidate by far,” says Beaulieu. “We tested another competitor’s product, but it simply wasn’t comparable. During the test, it got burning hot.” On the other hand, no mountain was too high for the ECI. The “S-Walk” also glides across the golf course because it is easy to activate and has excellent control characteristics, gushes Cyril Beaulieu.

Guaranteed partner

The joint development took about two years. Beaulieu sums things up this way: “It was a lot of fun working with ebm-papst. They always understood quickly what we needed.” Although the new smart trolley from Hit the Green has only been on the market for a little while, he is sure of one thing: “If we develop more trolleys, we will be relying on ebm-papst. That’s 100 % certain.”

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