Chinese Boom and Bust Fear Holds Back Factory Expansion Plus Other Business News
New eBikes & eBike Systems
$999 Ariel Rider Rideal Available for Pre Order – Late May Shipping
Ariel Rider’s Rideal offers plenty of bang for under a thousand bucks with a 750W rear motor and a big capacity 672Wh battery.
Ariel Rider’s new Ridealtown and commuting e-bike looks to deliver a lot of e-bike for the money, including 750W rear hub motor with throttle power up to 20mph (class 2), LED lighting, basic derailleur gearing and kickstand (though you will have to pay extra for fenders and a rack).
Both use a 750W-rated Bafang rear hub motor (20mph throttle on demand class 2) and 7 speed derailleur set up with the step-thru carrying a 672Wh in-frame battery and the Vista Cruiser packing a huge dual battery setup of 672Wh and 696Wh. They retail at US$1888 and US$2488 respectively with stock expected this month.
Ruff Cycles Team Up With Paul Teutel Junior
Ruff Cycles, makers of motorbike-inspired e-bikes, have announced that they have signed an exclusive partnership agreement with Paul Teutul Jr., one of the best known custom motorbike designers in the world and star of the popular TV show “American Chopper“.
The first result of the collaboration, designed by Paul Jr. and handcrafted by Ruff Cycles in Germany, will be presented on March 24th, 2021.
Are Car and Motorbike Companies Serious About eBikes?
The technology on Audi’s take on the e-bike sounds amazing but the bike has never been commercially available
This very interesting piece in the New York Times points out the historical connections between bikes and motorbikes – in short many early motorbikes were bikes with motor added. Companies diverged and bike and motorbike companies specialised over time making the two things totally distinct. However, in more recent times motorbike and car manufacturers have been launching their own e-bikes – Porsche’s new ultra-high priced models were featured in our recent news and Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Jeep and Mercedes-Benz are just some of the names that have dipped a toe (or more) in the e-bike water.
But are these companies really serious about e-bikes? Certainly Pedego’s chief exec Don Di Costanzo doesn’t thing so according to the article – “No car company has had any success selling an electric bicycle. …It’s fool’s gold. It can never replace the profit on a car.”
The fate of Audi’s Worthersee model and General Motor’s Ariv suggest Di Costanzo is right. In Audi’s case they have never attempted serious commercialisation of their e-bike project, using it simply as an object to show their technical expertise and to gain media coverage and social media attention. The case of General Motor’s Ariv e-folder is rather different – a commercial roll-out was attempted and whilst initial signs may have been promising the start of Covid and the allied car sales slump and factory closures prompted GM to kill off the project last year, as related bythe Verge.
Motorbike companies perhaps show more promise – in particular the Harley Davidson spin off Serial 1is due to start shipping its interesting and unique designs this spring. With prices starting at US$3399 they are no bargain basement offer but are clearly aiming at a quality mid-market that does exist – not the rich man’s toy / concept e-bike market which many auto makers have stepped into. As a sign of their intent to make an impact on the e-bike world Serial 1 have recently opened a new HQ in Lehi, Utah as the area is becoming a nucleus of high tech industry.
If large venture capital investments in e-bikes like the ones seen at Rad Power recently continue, and if Serial 1 succeed big time, will other motor bike or even car makers see e-bikes as part of their electric future?
Boulder’s First B-Cycle eBikes Arrive
The famed Boulder B-Cycle is now going electric with high quality ‘Bosch bikes’
Boulder’s well-known B-Cycle bike share now has 100 e-bikes available and they are powered by a Bosch crank drive system.
As this newsletter tells us, ‘Trek’s BCycle Electric bikes feature a best-in-class Bosch motor, Shimano brakes for safe and reliable performance in all seasons and front & rear integrated lighting for safe and visible riding. They are Class 1 ebikes with smooth pedal assist…’
Lime Introduces eScooters to Richmond…Again
Richmond Bizsensereports on how Lime has introduced 300 e-scooters in Richmond recently, some two years after launching and withdrawing. There are plans to increase the number of scooters in Richmond to 500.
Lime operates in more than 140 cities in the United States and around the world. In Virginia, the company also operates in Norfolk and Roanoke, according to its website. Lime acquired Uber’s electric bike and scooter operation, Jump, last year.
Duckt’s Universal Charging Docks Pilot in Paris
Micromobilitybizreports that ‘infrastructure innovator Duckt has been awarded a pilot project for the installation of 150 dock, lock and charge points across the Paris Rive Gauche. The project aims to demonstrate how universal charging infrastructure can accelerate micromobility use to reduce climate impact in the city.’
Solid State Battery Announcement
Nikkei Asia reports that ‘Hitachi Zosen has developed a solid-state battery boasting one of the industry’s highest capacities and tolerance for a wide range of temperatures, making it a candidate for use in satellites and industrial machinery.’ A solid state battery is one that uses a solid electrolyte, as opposed to current electric batteries that use a liquid or gel (as those used on e-bikes do). The electrolytes you drink to balance your body chemistry are not the same thing!
Apparently the battery has a capacity of 1,000 milliamp hours, some seven times as much as the Japanese company’s prior models. It can also operate in a temperature range from 100 degrees to minus 40 degrees Celsius.
Despite solid state batteries being hailed as the next big advance in battery safety and energy density, the article points out ‘While the new solid-state battery has reached a capacity milestone, it still trails far behind its lithium-ion counterparts. Those used in smartphones offer a capacity of thousands of milliampere per hour.’
As this Car Magazine article points outnot only are solid state batteries currently too expensive for commercial use, there’s still a lot of work to be done in finding the right atomic and chemical composition for a solid electrolyte that has the right ionic conductivity to deliver enough power for an e-bike or electric car.
In summary, solid state benefits still look some years away.
Delfast Raise €2.8 Million for New R&D Centre
Delfast is perhaps best known for its claim to have made the e-bike with the longest range ever, setting the Guinness World Record. It also makes a very solid looking heavy duty delivery e-trike aimed at businesses.
Now, EU Startups reports that ‘Ukrainian startup Delfast has closed the first round of its crowdfunding campaign on Fundable, raising €2.8 million from local and foreign investors, surpassing its initial goal of around €2.4 million. ‘
What Have Chinese Share Bikes to do With the Current eBike Shortage?
Bike-EU reportsthat Accell Group – well known for e-bike brands such as Haibike, Koga, Batavus and Raleigh – reported a 17% increase in net sales in 2020. The company also reports an operating profit of €74.7 million compared to €60.0 million in 2019.
A breakdown of the results shows sales growth for e‐bikes and cargo bikes up 15% and 43% respectively, while sales of traditional bikes declined by 10%.
Stay tuned for more e-bike news and reviews and thanks for reading!