Project digital.bike.23

This blog is part of the project “Digital.Bike.23”. It deals with the exciting topic: What will e-bikes look like in the near future? How will they communicate with the environment? Could they be sustainable from production to removal? Interesting topics of my project research will be published and thrown into discussion here. More …

Eurobike 2012 – Daily Business?

Known and unknown manufacturers presented their announced news. New Companies like Momentum from Great Briten joined the old bulls. A lot of the news is already pubblished in the relevant media, missing themes will follow in the forthcoming days. My question of interest was:Does the market explode in reality? My personal impression is: no, not yet.

Impressions from the fair:

The range of  applications diversifies and technical developments are coming and great visions were shown. More…

Future starts now

The speed of the drive-developments is amazing. On my actual list are ten companies, which present new drive-systems. As far as I know all can be tested at Eurobike. Some of them are revolutionary. Höganäs and MotorExellence will show their transverse flux motors, Protanium will present a kadern-motor and – if true – the most advanced motor will be shown by nexxtdrive, a step-less drive.

            

Specially these projects catched my attention. But they are far away of being all. Winora developed a new motor together with TranzX, Panasonic shows a rear hub motor together with KTM, AEG will present interesting kits and add pressure on Bosch, who also presents a more powerful motor. Kalkhoff cooperated with Alber for a new rear hub motor and Brose will take the next steps with their middle motor. Last but not least: Giant presents new bikes with Yamaha motor. How many others will present new drive concepts at Eurobike 2012? And which products are really reliable?

After my talk at the bike conference in Munich in two days (July, 26th), I´ll post more details…and look forwards to comments and input.

Japanese Cooperation

Beside the fact, that it´s not clear if and when Yamaha plans to realize its prototype shown at the Tokyo Show 2011, it is an fascinating stylish vehicle for me. Yahama produced the first mass production pedelec in 1993 and they are still an important player in the Japanese market with their PAS-pedelecs. Now they start to cooperate with Toyota – a big player in the electric and hybrid four wheeler market. That sounds promising.

          
Both enterprices want to underline their infrastructure concepts for commuters with the presented vehicles. Even if they might change their vehicle design again, it´s worth to keep their jointly projects in mind.

Studiing Results

Since 2009 the e-bike boom already accelerated, automotive manufacturers like Volkswagen, Ford, or latest Audi and Opel created eye-catching e-bike studies. A question was always: Will the vehicle reach production? Nearly as often as the question the answer was: „We do not know, but we analyze the possibility.“ Having seen quite a lot fascinating prototypes, I am more interested in concrete vehicles than in studies. Up to today I found two.

                   

In 2010 Volkswagen presented an outstanding prototype of an e-bike. It was foldable by an intelligent mechanism and fitted into the space for the spare tire in the boot. Two years later they start to sell a pedelec with a battery on the rack and a motor in the front wheel – an average pedelec. Do they want to create the bike of the people?

            

Smart took another direction. In 2010 they showed a stylish pedelec with a rear motor and smart phone integration. 2011 realistic prototypes were published and now the company is on the way to conquer the market with a pedelec, which matches the style and the market segment of their car.

Die Entdeckung weiterer europäischer Hersteller und Märkte

/post is available in ENGLISH via email hidden; JavaScript is required/ Auch in den anderen europäischen Ländern entwickeln sich die Märkte – langsamer zwar als in den drei Hauptabsatzländern, aber sie wachsen stetig. Verkauft werden anscheinend am ehesten sehr günstige Pedelecs. Deren Qualität fällt oft entsprechend gering aus. Es ist fraglich, ob diese „Billig-Bikes“ sich eher positiv oder negativ auf den jeweiligen Markt auswirken.

                                    
Dass es neben den günstigen auch qualitativ hochwertige und sehr ansprechende Pedelecs gibt, zeigen einige Funde. More…

E-Bike Highlights und Nischen-Hingucker – eine Auswahl

/post is also available inENGlISH via mail/Dass sich eigenwillige Pedelecs auch mit dem Bosch-Antrieb konzipieren lassen, zeigt das Downhill-Bike von Grace aus Brandenburg. Ob Downhiller dieses Fahrzeug wirklich annehmen, wird sich herausstellen. Andere High-End-Gefährte haben eine weniger spezielle Zielgruppe. Viele warten stattdessen mit anspruchsvoller Technik auf, die sich in manchen Fällen sicherlich erst beweisen muss.

                                     

Auch für Lastenräder und andere Nischen-Fahrzeuge wurden die Elektro-Antriebe entdeckt und geschickt integriert. More…

Markt Check

/post is available in ENGLISH via email hidden; JavaScript is required/ Der Elektrorad-Markt ist international am Boomen – das ist Tatsache. Steigen die Zahlen weiter so, sieht die Zukunft für die Elektro-Vehikel äußerst rosig aus. Liest man sich quer durch die internationalen Märkte, ist überall ein deutlicher Marktzuwachs zu erkennen. Manchmal etwas schwächer wie z. B. in den USA, manchmal stärker wie z.B. in China. Dort ist der Markt quasi über Nacht mit hilfe von Steuererhöhungen bei konventionellen Fahrzeugen auf EVs umgestellt worden und boomt entsprechend.

                             

          

In Europa bleiben die wichtigsten Märkte vorerst Deutschland, Holland und die Schweiz. Spannend war für mich die Feststellung, dass Frauen in den starken europäischen Märkten zur Zeit die größte Nutzergruppe zu sein scheinen.
Aus der Schweiz kommen nach wie vor sehr innovative hochwertige Bikes, aber auch von deutschen Herstellern lassen sich trotz des „Boschrad“-Phänomens spannende Pedelecs ausfindig machen – auch in Nischenbereichen.
Vergleicht man die Verkaufszahlen, erweisen sie sich in anderen europäischen Ländern als recht gering. Das heißt allerdings nicht, dass nicht auch dort interessante Bikes hergestellt werden. Marktkenner blicken mit Interesse auf die osteuropäischen Märkte. Sie erwarten von dort einige Entwicklungen. Aktuell präsentieren sie sich allerdings eher verhalten. More…

Back to the Future? Highlights and Findings from 30 years Pedelec History

While digging deep in history of electric bicycles I brought up fascinating facts. The research gave me a more intimate understanding of how long technical developments need and under which conditions they get ready for a  market. I realized that they even need longer to be accepted and bought by customers. A good general overview over the history of electric bicycles is already written by Hannes Neupert in ExtraEnergy Magazin 03. My aim is here to line out some highlights, which attracted my attention.

                        
Beside all I made two interesting findings:
1. many technical developments, which are on the way to enter or just implemented into todays market,  were invented in the middle of the 90s or ealier.
2. some of these inventions are not yet integrated in the markets. They show a way in which the journey will go previously. More…

Drive Developments

Another fascinating field are the drive developments. A variety of motor prototypes elated the prime enthusiasts but they disappeared in a garage before even reaching the pre-series. In Germany Heinzmann was quite successful with motors developed specially for pedelecs. Other companies bought motors for the series in Asia or / and used them for purposes other than intended. An example is Hercules, who used a long time a wipermotor for the “Electra Classic”. Beside the state-of-the-art solutions I found projects, which where ahead of its times.

                         

These are the ones I´ll introduce here since they are of interest for my project “e-bikeP23”. More…