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Carmakers expand reach to e-bikes

Porsche’s e-bike model (Porsche)
Porsche’s e-bike model (Porsche)

Global carmakers are penetrating the electric bicycle market, taking advantage of its value as a test bed for the future technology of electric vehicles while rounding out their e-mobility portfolios.

Experts note that both e-bikes and EVs have motors and batteries as their core parts, and also shared parts of their design structure. This gives carmakers a great leg up in the e-bike market, which is still in its nascent stage with no clear market leader. 

“When the finished carmakers diversify their e-mobility portfolios, they can easily cement their reputation as total mobility solutions providers and clinch more investment deals – similarly, carmakers are launching last mile mobility services and Urban Air Mobility business to transform as the global trend of gasoline cars are shifting towards electrified models,” said professor Kim Pil-soo of automotive engineering from Daelim University.

Market data showed that the global e-bike market would grow to be worth $25.9 billion in 2025, making at least 10 percent annual growth from $14.4 billion in 2019.  

Porsche is planning to set up two joint venture companies by joining hands with Netherlands investment firm Ponooc to produce high-performance e-bike and develop micro-mobility technology. Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Jeep are also producing e-bikes that are priced between 4.5 million to 9.5 million won.

Rivian, which started as an EV startup is also seeking to launch e-bikes after re-registering its trademark rights to also include e-bikes. 

Market insiders viewed that Hyundai Motor Group is also closely looking into e-bike market as it has shown constant interest and made investments in micro-mobility sector in recent years.
An imagine design of Hyundai Motor’s concept bike model Ioniq Q by design magazine (Yanko Design)
An imagine design of Hyundai Motor’s concept bike model Ioniq Q by design magazine (Yanko Design)

In April, the Korean carmaker has applied for a patent on an electrified tricyle design in the US. The special design comes with movable wheels so the wheelbase can fixed wider or narrower. 

The Korean automaker also unveiled a 7.7-kg Ioniq e-scooter in 2019, which is attached with 10.5Ah lithium-ion battery that can travel 20 kilometers at single charge. 

According to the industry sources, Hyundai Motor Group has recently conducted an investment inspection on delivery service firm Manna Corp. to invest in the last mile industry. The investment amount is expected to be around 30 to 40 billion won, according to the sources.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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