Amidst an urban revolution: the electrification of mobility and its neighboring trends
TEAMS Design Trend Story Bike I
Healthiness, athleisure as well as leisure lifestyles are trends that form new status symbols like physical fitness, displayed health and sports derived products. We pay attention to nutrition, care more for ourselves and strive for independence more than ever before, which leads to an intense work-life-blending. As a result of urbanization, our lives take place in metropolitan areas where available space is a precious commodity, no matter what for. Consequently, multi-modality and shared mobility are two of three major trends in urban mobility. The third -of course- is small, smart, e-augmented, human powered vehicles: e-bikes.
A renaissance in the beginning: the e-bike and everything that comes with it
Whilst still being smiled at by some, e-bikes are completely present now and almost any bike manufacturer offers “augmented” bicycles in his range, which are elegant and sporty alike. Above all, they begin to be mass affordable even at high quality.
Nevertheless, there is one fact which reveals that the market is still in the beginning as a product category: The less you see the e-ingredients on a bike, the more attractive it is rated. So hiding the technology at the moment seems to be the right way instead of staging motor power or the augmentation of the rider’s performance. This shows that there is still some time left for people to get used to the new kind of product and its possible use cases.
Fortunately, this open field produces two-wheeled e-vehicles in all possible variations from small to big and more or less bike-like: e-scooters, e-trikes, concepts like the unimoke or ruff cycles quote existing stereotypes and transfer images. Decide for a motor setup, develop a great design concept, find a producer, sell e-bikes, be part of one of the fastest growing markets. Sounds easy at the moment.
A change of mobility is clearest to notice in big cities and metropolitan areas, reasons like space, efficiency, cost and time are obvious. Cycling and E-cycling are on the rise, but there are some requirements to make it more attractive and safer.
Bike paths are constantly being developed to protect cyclists from conflicts with four wheelers. Like trailblazers as the Netherlands and Denmark, cities around Europe are planning bicycle highways. Areas which are equipped already have to consider those bike paths as they are today, will not be sufficient anymore in the future. How to pass by a cargo bike on a track of less than one-meter width?
The second infrastructural task is the storage of e-bikes. An e-bike is precious, sometimes as a car, but can be carried away just by hand, if not locked to something. Developing possibilities to park bicycles safely and dry (and maybe even load them) actually sounds like a business model. If you get cities to open up space for closed private bike parking instead of car parking.
So, driving an e-bike is one thing, buying it is the other. Suppliers like Lease-a-bike, Dienstrad, Jobrad, IKB Leasing, and EuroRad are just some of the German providers of leasing solutions opening the use of e-bikes to the masses. On-bike safety is a constant subject, there is one important technical invention to mention: the Bosch e-bike ABS system enables controlled and stable braking, avoiding headers into the asphalt.
The electrification of bicycles is bringing up real alternatives to the car age. Innovations all around biking are booming and technologies we already know from the automotive industry find their use in bicycles. The bicycle as we know it is about to change completely, bringing in new possibilities in the transportation sector, and being a promising means of transportation in the future.
This is part of an ongoing series we at TEAMS Design are producing to discuss future trends we are researching in the bike industry.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on July 6, 2018.