Automakers are getting into electric bikes

The craze for the electric bike is not weakening, benefiting from the latest technological innovations. This booming market has long since found its public and car manufacturers, who concede that the little queen is very practical for driving around town, are in turn rushing into the design of cycles.

Like Porsche, Mini or Lamborghini, many car brands are taking advantage of the explosion of electric bikes to expand their customer base and green their image. Porsche, the most ambitious in this field, already offers bicycles at more than 8,000 euros and is preparing a serious offensive in the cycle: it has invested in the Croatian brand of electric bicycles Greyp and bought in 2022 the German specialist in electric motors Fazua . Porsche eBike Performance will thus develop and market advanced motors, electric batteries and software for bicycles, and launch a new range by 2025. The sports brand, which aims for 80% electric sales in 2030 for its vehicles, describes itself as ” a pioneer in sustainable mobility “, according to the expression of a spokesperson interviewed by AFP, “ the number of wheels does not matter “.

Mini also enters the game: the connected bicycle start-up Angell announced Thursday that it would design and manufacture in France a range of electric bicycles for the British brand. The Mini, revived in the year 2000 by the BMW group, is thus seeking to reinforce its urban and electric identity, while it wants to sell 100% battery-powered cars by 2030. With its electrification, “thehe upmarket bicycle market is attracting new players from other worlds “, indicates the institute of studies Xerfi in a report.

Car and bicycle, linked by the industrial revolution

At the launch of Angell in 2019, the connected bicycle start-up (sold around 3,000 euros) had ” hit the car hard enough, individual and thermal “, just like its competitor VanMoof, underlined its founder, the French entrepreneur Marc Simoncini. ” But from the moment the car becomes electric and less individual, we say to ourselves that the fight is won. And the Mini is very urban, that’s our core target and our expertise.”.

There is a “kinship” link between the bicycle and the car, linked to the history of the industrial revolution, explains designer Jean-Louis Fréchin, curator of the exhibition. Bicycle(s), riding bicycles presented in Saint-Étienne until 1er may. But after the Second World War, the bicycle, first individual mobility tool “, was downgraded by the car, which confined him ” sports and cycling “, emphasizes Mr. Fréchin.

Marks automobilesautomobiles remained present in the cycle, with mixed success and engagement. Peugeot, a time number 1 in the world for bicycles, and Renault (then owner of Cycles Gitane) faced off on the roads of the Tour de France in the late 1970s. Peugeot still offers a range of bicycles, but they are assembled by a partner. Both Audi and Honda came up with revolutionary bike concepts, engineers’ dreams that never made it to market.

The little electric queen reigns in town

Countless manufacturers have also launched bicycles (or more recently scooters) under their brand, such as the very exclusive Lamborghini and Bugatti. Renault successfully marketed a racing bike at the end of 2022 carboncarbon (priced at 9,000 euros), designed with the manufacturer Lapierre, to promote its Alpine sports brand. An all-terrain model is planned for the summer.

“We are beginning to understand that cars are not suitable for cities”

Many brands have launched limited edition bikes, to go with their cars in showrooms… But we are starting to see more serious initiatives commented Adam Tranter, director of the British marketing agency MergerMerger Media, specialized in cycling. ” We are beginning to understand that cars are not suitable for cities: even the bosses of Ford and Volkswagen have asked for more spaces suitable for cycling and walking “.

The fascinating history of the bicycle in 15 photos

Toyota agrees: the world’s No. 1 in the car industry is going to market a cargo bike to its colorscolors, designed by the manufacturer Douze Cycles, to transport children like goods. Volkswagen had also developed a cargo bike. But parts supply problems and price inflation of materialsmaterials first got the better of this ambitious project developed in-house.

Behind the manufacturers, other automotive giants are betting on the electric bike: equipment manufacturers such as Bosch, Mahle or Valeo have developed engines and other parts. Four Savoyard suppliers also presented the futuristic “Cocotte”, a chainless bike with a gearbox. speedspeed automatique.

Automakers are getting into electric bikes