Electric bikes have taken off a bit… as I predicted (about 5 years ago) they would. While I think normal bikes must be better for people in 90-99% of cases, I do think electric bikes are pretty cool and have their place. One place electric bikes might make a good fit is as delivery vehicles.
Matra seems to agree. Matra uses an innovative, battery-swapping system and its pedelec bikes have been expanding their market in Europe. “In reaction to strong growth on the European market and increasingly pronounced segmentation, Matra is introducing a wide 2013 range of electric bicycles with 12 new urban and sports models, new motors and more features,” the company wrote at the end of August. Now, word on the street is that it’s entering the commercial delivery market… with some pedelec trikes.
Gas2 writes: “Matra sold over 5000 electric bikes last year, but hopes to expand its business with “pure” (read: non-pedal) scooters that include electric delivery bikes like the trike shown, above, which combines readily-available scooter parts (like tires, brakes, and suspension) with the kind of huge cargo capacities that should make the vehicle a natural fit for local produce and meat markets, pizzarias, and more. The full roof and “safety cell” should help offset some liability concerns that fleets may have, and allow for all-weather operation.”
Depending on how pure you want to go when it comes to human power, cargo bikes or the above pedelecs offer some pretty good options for clean transportation of people and goods.
Electric Bike Growth in Europe
In the August Matra statement noted above, Matra also stated that, in Europe, “electric bicycle sales have increased tenfold in the past five years, with 37,000* units sold in France in 2011 and 310,000** in Germany.”
Matra now has 19 models of electric bikes available in Europe. It uses three types of motors: “front motor (TranzX 36V), a rear hub motor (BionX 48V) or a bottom bracket motor (Bosch 36V), optimised battery performance (up to 468 Wh) and two main product families ‘Urban’ and ‘Trekking-Sport’.” And the bikes look pretty nice, imho.
For more details on Matra’s bikes, check out its press release on its 2013 models.
Image via Gas2
* Source: CNPC/ 3,900 units sold in France in 2005
** Source: German Bicycle Association, Zweirad-Industrie-Verband