Monday, 2 september 2019 | Redacción CEU
When imagining a future on wheels, the first images that come to our minds are based on really "smart" cars which are capable of driving without our help, taking us to our destination in the blink of an eye, getting rid of traffic jams in ingenious ways and, even, rising a few centimeters from the ground. Only a few could imagine that this automotive future may be on two wheels and pedals. However, is this vision less accurate? Electric bicycles are an economical, practical and eco-friendly alternative. In these characteristics lies most of their charm. Therefore, together with eScooters, they are beginning to position themselves as a proposal with great projection within the world of urban mobility.
More and more people are betting on other alternatives to cars such as eScooters and electric bikes. Especially, this last option is becoming a trend in some countries. For example, this is the case of Germany where 39,200 cargo-bikes –bicycles that can transport small goods and up to two children– were sold last year. This figure is particularly remarkable if we consider that, despite the fact that the government approved incentives of up to €4,000 for the replacement of conventional cars for electric cars, the number of electric vehicles sold was only 36,062. In fact, cities like Berlin, in large part encouraged by this new context (where cargo bicycles become even a status symbol), are betting on offering aids for the purchase of these bicycles.
Car manufacturers have also noticed this growing interest in bicycles. Nowadays, it is no longer necessary to use a car to move from home to work. This type of alternatives is also clean, sustainable and accessible. These are more than enough reasons for car firms to opt for the design of this type of two-wheel and three-wheel models.
One of the latest brands which has surprised us is Harley-Davidson. After years of positioning itself as a brand that could be identified by the noise, potency and dimensions of their models, the firm is beginning to turn towards electrification. The presentation of the LiveWire, an electric motorcycle, has already served as a declaration of intent. A purpose that was reaffirmed with the presentation of other electrical prototypes throughout the year. Now, the company has just launched two models of electric bikes for children: IronE12 (for children between 3 and 5 years old) and IronE16 (for children between 5 and 7 years old). They are models without pedals, with a 60-minute range, that have been designed for kids to acquire the necessary balance to stay on two wheels.
The company's interest in electric bicycles has also been confirmed thanks to the disclosure of work being carried out on three models of electric bicycles. In some way, Harley Davidson could find in electrification and new mobility a way out of the fall that it experienced due to the tariff war, at the beginning of the year.
Volkswagen has also seen in micro-mobility a possible great ally in its will to change. One of its most original proposals is the Volkswagen Streetmate: a hybrid between an electric scooter and a bike. With a 2.7 horsepower engine, this vehicle can reach 45km/h and 35 kilometers of range. Besides, last year, at LA Auto Show, the car brand presented an electric tricycle. Cargo e-bike is a vehicle that can carry a load of 210 kg at a maximum speed of 25km/h, with a range of 100 kilometers. The model will begin to be marketed this year.
Porsche is another firm that has joined the world of personal mobility vehicles. The Stuttgart brand has designed a mountain bike with twelve speeds, 250W and 22 kg. Its name is Porsche eBike X+. In this case, the firm bets on exclusivity, as it only offers 250 units for sale with a price of 9,911 euros.
124 years ago, Škoda was born as a bicycle manufacturer. Now, it returns to its origins. In the last edition of the Geneva International Motor Show, the brand presented an electric bike prototype: Klement. It is a bicycle with unconventional pedals that work like those of a motorcycle. This model has a range of 62 kilometers and reaches a maximum speed of 45km/h.
Ford is also a car brand interested in the world of electric bicycles. In this case, the firm has been exploring the market for some time thanks to their teamwork. Ford partnered with Pedego to build its Super Cruiser model: a 27 kg bike that reaches a top speed of 31km/h.
The interest of big brands in electric bicycles seems to predict a prosperous future for the sector. The more alternatives they offer, the more likely they are to reach different user profiles. And what about you, would you change your car for a bicycle?
The automotive world is one of the most cutting-edge areas in innovation. The new logistical, urban and environmental challenges are just some of the determining factors in the transition to a new mobility model. The sector needs more than ever professionals who are prepared to face the many changes that the industry will experience in the next years. The CEU IAM Business School offers two programs aimed at training these professionals: an Automotive Management Development Programme (AMDP) and a Master's Degree in the Automotive Industry Businesses. Ask for further information!