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Automotive companies stop pedelec activities

Continental announced to pull out of the electric bike market. Hannes Neupert blames the pressure due to the switch to electric cars. Interview by Jack Oortwijn, Bike Europe.

Hannes Neupert, President ExtraEnergy e.V./Executive Director EnergyBus e.V. and longtime bike electrification activist, blames the automotive supply chain being under severe pressure due to the switch to electric cars. 

Bike Europe‘s complete interview with Hannes Neupert is published in Bike Europe’s December 2019 print edition that will be circulated 13 December. On 12 December it will become digitally available.

The interview was  conducted by Jack Oortwijn, Bike Europe: 

>> E-Bike Expert Hannes Neupert on Conti’s Decision to Stop Making Mid-Motors

Unwise decisions made under pressure
“It leads to unwise decisions made under pressure to stay alive.“ It has nothing to do with the e-bike/pedelec market which, Hannes Neupert says, is “Still in the Kindergarten phase. Comparable to the cell phone market in 1995.

He blames it on the fact that companies like Conti, which are Tier 1 auto suppliers, are under severe pressure due to the fact that almost all car makers are noe switching to electric cars. 

Severe restructuring
“They have not taken serious or even ignored the trend to electric cars. Most of them could simply not imagine that it will finally happen.

It means that hectic and severe restructuring is under way now. It results often that every part of these big companies that is not highly profitable will be closed.

After Conti two other large automotive companies decided end November to stop their pedelec activities which will probably be communicated soon. Often such management decisions are not wise, but made under severe pressure to stay alive.“ 

‘Bosch and Shimano dictating‘
According to ExtraEnergy the pulling out of Conti is surely not a first shake-out sign as the market for e-bike/pedelec drive systems is getting too crowded.

He says “It’s not at all like that. We are still just at the early beginnings. In my opinion the current market situation is quite boring.

Bosch and Shimano are on top of the chain and dictating bike makers what to do and what not. I hope that we will have more competition, It‘s urgently needed as there are now many “me too makers“ trying to make the same thing as the others just cheaper.

They miss the chance to become relevant. Innovation is needed to drive customer wish fulfillment.“

>> How to measure Wishes - The QFD Method in the ExtraEnergy Test

Market heading for…
On where the pedelc market is heading for, Hannes Neupert says “When some industry players in Germany talk about pedelec sales, that stood at about one million in 2018, I wonder what that is compared to 70+ million bicycles owned in the country?

According to my analysis e-bike/pedelec ownership will be potentially higher. Where would that take annual sales in Germany? At 7 million units annually.“

‘Kindergarten phase‘
"We are still in the Kindergarten phase of the e-bike market,“ continues Neupert.

“The current situation is comparable to the cell phone market in 1995. Nobody imagined, except for maybe Steve Jobs at that time, what people are really looking for. Look at what happened since; product and market wise.“

Bike Europe‘s complete interview with Hannes Neupert is published in Bike Europe’s December 2019 print edition that will be circulated 13 December. 

Or read the full interview in the photo gallery:

>> Automotive companies stop pedelec activities (flickr)

Text: Jack Oortwijn, Bike Europe


Online publication: Angela Budde

3rd December 2019

Last update: 26th January 2020



7 - 12 September 2021, IAA, Munich, Testtrack