© 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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