On 5 September 2013, Asian manufacturers and media visited Cube, SLG testing lab, Diamant and EnergyBus seminar organizer emtas GmbH.
From 2 to 6 September 2013, Jean Chen of ExtraEnergy Services GmbH & Co KG (in the course of formation) organized an educational trip around Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs). The trip was supported by Hannes Neupert (President ExtraEnergy e.V.). On 5 September Cube, SLG, Diamant and emtas were visited.
Cube - Center Motor in the Future
Jonathan Herget, Product management Pending System GmbH & Co. KG, welcomed the LEV educational tour travelers. „We are riding and we like bikes. Sometimes, that makes the difference.“
He looked back: „We started electric bike production three years ago. For 2014 we are planning 15,000 units a year. The electric bike production increased even the whole market is at the moment difficult because of the weather. Our main markets are Germany, Dutch, Belgium, Holland and Great Britain. We have 2,000 dealers worldwide including 650 in Germany. The German market is 55 %. The rest is all around the world. The Asian market is only a small amount of bikes. We also started our production in China 3 days ago.
We saw that a lot of Cube bikes were sold in Asia. But not from us”, remembered Jonathan Herget. “We didn´t produce them. They were just copies. We don´t know which company is producing them. But we saw more and more coming so in the end we saw the market there. Now we do it by ourselves. For our business in China I can say that there are two different groups. The entry level which are 500 - 700 Euro and there is also the other group which is buying the most expensive bikes because they have the money. We see that there is a market for high-end bikes and for entry level bikes.
Three years ago we started with two models of electric urban bikes. For MY14 we have different variations of city and urban pedelecs and we completed our pedelec range with hardtails, 120mm 29er full suspension and 140mm travel 27.5 full suspension bikes. The entry level of our electric bikes is 2,000 euro and the top model costs at the moment 5,299 euro. Because in the mountain bike the center motor makes more sense, we changed from a rear hub motor to Bosch this year. It is just more fun to ride electric mountain bikes when the weight is in the center. The rear motor is more for commuting. That is what we experienced when we ride our test tracks here."
SLG - CE and GS Mark
SLG Prüf- und Zertifizierungs GmbH is a family-run company which is now in the second generation with around 140 employees at the headquarters in Hartmannsdorf.
Andreas Kékedi explained: "We are an accredited testing laboratory. That means we are GS testing laboratory. GS means approved safety (Geprüfte Sicherheit) which is a German independent testing label. That means the test sample is approved and also the manufacturing process is under control by the testing lab. We are also a testing and certification lab regarding the European directives. In Europe, you have many different directives. For instance the machinery directive, EMC directive, low voltage directive, safety directive for child care products, for toys or medical products and many others. We are a competent notified body for this. We can do all these CE relevant tests and we can also give you certificates for CE. That means safety issue regarding the European directives. If you bring a product on the European market, you have to fulfill all the requirements. You have to show this by applying the CE mark.
For the European directives, we are able to do the CE tests. GS is only for Germany. It is not a must. CE is a must. But it can come from the manufacturer itself or from the distributor. For CE, it is not a must to go to a testing lab. CE is a safety declaration by the distributor or the manufacturer. But if the distributor or the manufacturer is not really sure about all these things, about all the directives, about all the requirements, then it is necessary, or it should be the case that the manufacturer or the distributor go to a testing lab to get a CE certificate which is valid.
We have a department for machinery safety, we also test the EPACS Pedelecs. Because you now an EPAC pedelec is a machine according to the European directive. We have a department for EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility) which is also accredited. We have a department for chemistry.
Especially for the European market a lot of requirements also regarding the chemical ingredients are given, so here we have also our own testing facilities.
In this building here we have a big testing lab for all kinds of noise measurements. We are also in charge for testing batteries. Especially Li-Ion batteries, also for the UN certification tests which are needed to bring the battery from A to B all over the world.
We are an accredited testing laboratory for the CB according the IEC safety standard for lithium batteries. And of cause we do a lot of performance tests, lifetime tests for batteries.
We have also some branches in Far East, also with testing labs. Here we have 90 % and 10 % in Far East. There, we do a lot of inspections, like factory inspections, loading inspections. All these things. We cooperate very well. We do some parts of the projects like the initial test here in Germany and then our collegues in China go to the factory and check if the tools are really constructed and manufactured in the same way that we have tested.
In the end, for the battery, the manufacturer has to do a risk analysis which analyses the risk of a battery lifetime, beginning with transport to the customer.
Diamant – Pedelecs important segment at production in 2012
Diamant is one of the oldest german bike companies which is existing for nearly 129 years. Since 2003 it is fully imbedded into the TREK group. Currently, there are 145 different models in production. The main task is to manage that there is not a big stock but still to deliver quicker on the demand of the dealer and consumer. Hannes Neupert: „They have a strategy to manage the high and the low season. That is why they have fixed people in their company plus temporary workers who can be hired on a time base. This spring, when there was a lot of snow, the production was slowed by stopping one of the two production bands.“
Originally, the production line was built in the 90s for 60,000 bicycles. Right now, bikes are produced for TREK, Diamant and Villiger. Diamant is very strong in Germany and Austria in the segments of City- / Trekkingbikes and Pedelecs. The history of Villiger is to build quality City- and Trekkingbikes as well as pedelecs especially for the Swiss market. TREK can be found in the sportive mid to high-priced area. Nina Meinicke (controller): „We are only production here. Production for TREK-, Villiger- and Diamant-bikes. The marketing and sales offices are in the country where we sell the bikes. So, we have offices in Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Benelux, UK, Spain, Italy and France. That´s where we do the sales and here we do the production. The engineering group is based in Amersfoort so it is very spread around Europe. Here we build around 60 % TREK and 35 % Diamant bikes. The rest is Villiger. Last year, we built 127,000 bikes, 22 % of them were pedelecs.“
emtas - EnergyBus Seminars
Finally, the educational tour travellers visited emtas GmbH in Merseburg. "To meet the rising demand for information on EnergyBus we are offering seminars on this topic. There we will introduce our participants into the basics of this technology", explained Torsten Gedenk, CEO emtas GmbH.
Participants of the tour from 2 to 6 September 2013 were Grace S. Ruan (President & Publisher) Wheel Giant, Joyce and Gorden Hsu (General Manager and Assistant) Sunshine Technology in Taiwan and Shanghai Ying Yu Electronic in China and Zhao Jie (General Manager) of Fujian Menshine New Energy Vehicle Technology Co., LTD.
Anyone who is interested to participate in future educational trips is warmly invited to contact tour organizer Jean Chen via e-mail:
>> LEV Educational Trip – from History to Future
>> LEV Components Tour SRAM - Schaeffler - TQ
>> Tour: Riese & Müller - Messingschlager
Text: Angela Budde
Picture: Jean Chen
16 October 2013