E-bike News: VanMoof bailout, Subsidies for E-bikes are More Effective than ZEVs
This week’s news shows the great variety out there in the e-bike world; we are concentrating on new launches in this issue and have Cannondale’s lightest e-bike yet, a small cargo bike with a rear hub motor, a slighter larger but still very manageable one with a powerful Bosch mid-drive, an all-wheel model from a car company with super powerful dual motors and last but not least, what claims to be a ‘smart’, lightweight and super-affordable friction drive. Prices? They range from $299 to $4799….
In this week’s e-bike news:
- VanMoof Gets Cash Bailout
- Subsidies for E-bikes more effective than subsidies for ZEVs
- French brand Jean Fourche introduces e-bike
- A foldable bike helmet that includes lights
- Lawsuit against Rad Power Bikes adds two Taiwanese defendants
VanMoof Gets Cash Bailout
Dutch e-bike brand VanMoof went to its shareholders and requested a capital investment, saying that its projections showed that it would struggle to remain liquid following the first quarter of 2023. The company’s request was in the 10 million to 40 million euro range ($10.9 million to $43.6 million).
News of the request was first reported by the Dutch paper Financieele Dagblad. VanMoof is reported to have asked to delay payments to its suppliers until the capital was available to them.
Analysts point to a workforce of more than 900 people as being a significant hurdle in their operations, in part owing to a retail operation spread over more than nine time zones. It’s a huge workforce for a company with relatively modest sales. It’s fair to wonder how long until some of those retail locations close and a portion of their workforce is laid off. Not that we applaud layoffs by any means, but the survival of a company with many jobs is better than the failure of a company with all the jobs.
Subsidies for E-Bikes More Effective Than Subsidies for ZEVs
In an analysis of subsidies for ZEVs (zero emission vehicles), Greater Greater Washington concluded that subsidies for e-bikes have a greater cumulative effect than do subsidies for ZEVs.
They showed that a $1000 subsidy to purchase a ZEV raises demand by 2.6 percent. Meanwhile, a $100 subsidy for e-bikes has the same power—it will elevate demand by 2.6 percent. Unfortunately, the value of most of those subsidies is offset by the fact that most of those people (a whopping 93 percent) would have purchased a ZEV anyway. The subsidy, rather than incenting a person who would otherwise have purchased a vehicle with an internal combustion engine to buy a ZEV, the subsidy simply made it less expensive to make a planned purchase.
Here’s where the analysis gets truly interesting: Subsidies come from a fund that is capped, either by dollars or number of subsidies. Using a proposal in Maryland to create a subsidy of $8.5 million, the analysis showed that the subsidy would be depleted in less than three months. At $3000 per ZEV and $2000 for each plug-in hybrid (PIH), the money would go toward 170 new ZEVs and 45 new PIHs.
A similar plan that incents e-bikes would provide for up to $400 per e-bike. The result would be roughly 1400 new e-bike sales and some 44 percent of those purchases would be made by people who would not otherwise have purchased an e-bike.
Read the full article here.
French Brand Jean Fourche Introduces E-Bike
The brand Jean Fourche, known for making stylish town bikes and accessories in the wine region of Bordeaux, is introducing its first e-bike. The design is similar to their existing town bike, which features a smart step-thru design and 24-in. wheels.
Jean Fourche says their approach will be different in that they intend for their entire e-bike to be serviceable, not just the “bike” part of the e-bike. What that means, practically, is that every component within the motor can be replaced in order to keep the motor working. And should a cell fail in the battery, it can be replaced at a battery service center. Motors will be serviced by their manufacturer, Virvolt, while batteries will be serviced by their maker, Gouache.
Horror stories abound of people who bought brand new e-bike only to discover the battery wouldn’t charge. Jean Fourche aims to change that experience by eliminating the problems in servicing the electronic components of the e-bike. Other relevant specs:
- Shimano Nexus 7-speed drivetrain
- Shimano Alivio V-brake
- Front and rear racks have a combined payload capacity of 110 lbs. (50kg)
Delivery will being in April of 2023. To learn more, visit the Jean Fourche website.
Fend Super is a foldable bike helmet with lights
Bike helmets are pretty terrific while riding, but often rather unwieldy once off the bike. The Fend Super is a new design that allow the user to fold it into a much smaller shape and size. The helmet isn’t being offered by one of the big companies, however, this is an IndieGoGo campaign that more than 4000 people have signed on with a minimum pledge level of just $99. The sides fold into the helmet’s center section, leaving it’s length but reducing its width to just a few inches. It comes equipped with an occipital retention device as well as front and rear lights.
With more than $400k in sales, this drive has more than met its goal.
The patented design, which folds the helmet into a shape half as wide as what is worn, comes with a number of other notable features:
- 360-degree light visibility
- 12 vents
- Lights have 20-hour runtime
- 30 lumens power
This isn’t Fend’s first design. Their original helmet, the Fend One, did very well and this is an updated design that was sufficiently unique to earn a patent. Notably, the helmet not only meets CPSC requirements, it also meets the European EN 1078 standard for e-bikes.
Learn more on Fend’s IndieGogo page.
Lawsuit against Rad Power Bikes adds two Taiwanese defendants
In a lawsuit against Rad Power Bikes made by a homeowner who suffered damage to their home following a fire alleged to be caused by a Rad Power e-bike, the homeowner’s insurance company, State Farm, has filed suit against two Taiwanese companies.
State Farm has named Fritz Jou Manufacturing, an assembly factory, as well as TD HiTech Energy a battery supplier in their suit. State Farm claims the TD HiTech Energy battery and charger malfunctioned and caught fire, causing more than $250,000 in damage to the insured’s home and automobiles.
Rad Power denies that their e-bike or the battery caused the fire.
The Van Moof bikes always seemed a bit strange to me. They seem to be all style and limited content. Their high price does not help. The French bike looks good, with proper racks, a decent centre stand and hub gears. Not sure why the wheels are 24 inch, and ‘V’ brakes? This bike would be quite heavy loaded up, so why no disc brakes?
Fourche has designed and speced what I consider a near perfect ebike. Price? USA availability?
I looked at their website and it does give a price. I can also see the reason for 24 inch wheels, as it carries a child on the back.