The E-Cargobike for the Towns and Cities of the Future

Bicycle manufacturer Sachsenring Bike GmbH of Saxony-Anhalt builds alternative transport systems.

The trend towards the e-bike continues unabated, with forecasts predicting a market share of 50 percent within the next ten years. In Sangerhausen in Saxony-Anhalt, bicycle manufacturer Sachsenring Bike is focusing on own brand development. In cooperation with local research institutes and other cooperation partners, new models are currently being developed in a variety of projects, the production of which is scheduled to start in late summer. Right now, however, how things will ultimately roll remains subject to secrecy.

Electric mobility has a long history. As long ago as 1899 there was an electric car that drove at an incredible 105 kilometres per hour. Up to 40 percent of the cars on American roads were electrically powered; more than 500 models are said to have existed worldwide. Over the years, however, the combustion engine gained acceptance – the consequences of which are clear today. According to the Federal Statistical Office, in the year 2017, in Germany alone, car traffic polluted the environment with some 115 million tonnes of CO2. That was six percent more than in 2010.

The air is especially stuffy in our towns and cities, which are responsible for almost 80 percent of all CO2 emissions. This shouldn’t be surprising, as urbanisation is constantly on the increase. Currently, almost 78 percent of people in Germany live in cities, a figure which is expected to increase to almost 85 percent by 2050. The consequences are an increase in the movement of people and goods, driven by the booming business on the Internet.

An upheaval in the world of traffic and transport seems unavoidable, and not only in car traffic. And something is happening: electrically powered bicycles have been causing sales figures to rise sharply for a number of years, with last year's increase in sales amounting to 38 percent compared with the previous year. The market share of e-bikes in Germany is currently 23.5 percent.

Experience with cargo bikes

Sachsenring Bike Manufaktur GmbH of Sangerhausen in Central Germany has also recognised the sign of the times. Its focus is clearly on the manufacturing of e-bikes.

Managing Director of Sachsenring Bike Stefan Zubcic sees the potential to double or quadruple the sales of the electrically powered cargo bike. They already have experience with Cargobikes, says Stefan Zubcic: "This is an old business for us, we've been making the delivery bikes for the German postal service for ten years." Five models of cargo bike are assembled at the workshop in Sangerhausen, central Germany, three of which are electrically powered. In cooperation with local research institutes and other cooperation partners, new models are currently being developed in a variety of projects, the production of which is scheduled to start in late summer. "The demand for user-friendly and robust E-Cargobikes is constantly increasing. We are currently looking for partners – logistics service providers such as freight forwarders, for example," says Stefan Zubcic. The use of the bikes in handicraft businesses is also an aspiration, however. "One outcome could be a combination of car and bike." The advantages are obvious: "No more looking for parking spaces, short distances, ease of use, benefits to health."

A possible load of up to 900 kilograms

The parameters of the Sachsenring Bike models are, in fact, of interest for commercial use. The electric motor supports a speed of up to 25 kilometres per hour, the cargo volume varies according to the intended use and corresponding structure, the load starts at 50 kilograms, reaching a loading capacity of up to 900 kilograms staggered over several platforms. The range of the bikes depends, among others, on a variety of influencing factors such as the load, the chosen level of support, whether the travel is uphill or downhill, or the ambient temperature.

In the run-up to the planned further development of the E-Cargobikes, the company conducted a customer survey which revealed which parameters take priority when using the bikes: stability, which in this case means an operating time for the vehicle of six to eight years; an ideal transport volume between 1.5 and 1.8 cubic metres; an efficient operation including the accessibility of the load; weather protection for the driver; attractive prices as well as a spare parts service and the robustness of the bike. The Cargobikes of tomorrow, explains Stefan Zubcic, are precisely customised to the requirements of the customers and offer more comfort. The design of the bikes has also been updated.

Numerous suppliers of E-Cargobikes are now on the market, but Sachsenring Bike-Manufaktur has a key advantage over them, as pointed out by Stefan Zubcic: "We have the ideas and the know-how!" The planning, manufacturing, direct sales, delivery, after-sales service and leasing solutions all come from one single source.

An increasing market share

The market figures prove that the strategy of the company from Saxony-Anhalt is right. According to the German Bike Association (ZIV), some 980,000 e-bikes were sold in Germany in 2018, a 36 percent increase! Sales of electrically powered Cargobikes increased, achieving a market share of four percent compared with 2017. That corresponds to almost 40,000 units. According to the ZIV, a greater shift from car traffic towards bicycles and e-bikes in urban areas could reduce pollution in towns and cities, even without bans on diesel vehicles. According to a study by the European Cyclelogistics project, 51 percent of all motorised transport in European cities could move over to bicycles.

Author: Anja Falgowski

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