This year's Eurobike has seen more electric bikes than any European show before it. With two exclusive test tracks and a special exhibition of the latest trends, Friedrichshafen Fair and ExtraEnergy made electric bikes the vocal point of Eurobike 2009. Fun is the new trend - whether riding an electric mountain bike, e-racing bike, or a fashionable e-city bike. The big (and growing) number of high-performance, well-designed bikes is attracting cyclists and non-cyclists of all ages.
Although ExtraEnergy, the Fair's cooperation partner for the electric bike supporting program, had positioned most electric bike exhibitors around its two test tracks, visitors still struggled to get around and see all the new pedelecs and e-bikes.
At the two test tracks alone - one in the East open air grounds and one in the Zeppelin hall – 75 international companies exibited their latest models. This was almost five times more than in 2008 and represented the lion's share of the brands that are available in Europe. The large choice of products made the test tracks a great opportunity for all visitors to test ride them all and get an overview of what's offered on the market. Trade visitors took advantage of this opportunity and so did the public. Even heavy rains could not keep enthusiasts from testing.
On the public day - a beautiful sunny day - the track in the East open air grounds was permanently crowded and it was quite a challenge to overtake on a fast bike. To give visitors a real feel for the speedy pedelecs, there were talks about building a track with a fast lane (maybe even two tracks) next year - one for the 25 km/h products and the second for the fast ones. With 45 exhibitors in the East open grounds, there was obviously not enough space to do so this year.
Every possible square meter hosted company booths or check-ins, the later of which were provided by ExtraEnergy and came in an entirely new design. The new stands had a roof that sheltered the exhibitors' staff from too much sun and also from rain. Both was needed at this year's show.
The 18th edition of Eurobike broke all records. With 1028 exhibitors from 42 countries who occupied a total of 100.000 square meters in 14 halls and two open air grounds, it was not only the largest show in Friedrichshafen ever. This year's Eurobike also counted more visitors that there were since 1991: 39,152 visitors from 75 countries––an increase of 6 percent. The meadia attendance was very strong again this year. Over 1,500 journalists from 36 countries visited the show. And almost every media report that was posted in the press center during the show highlighted electric bikes, e-bikes, pedelecs, tail wind or other related words in their headlines.
Trends: Fun & Function, Speed & Sport
With rapidly increasing sales numbers of expected 120,000 units in Germany in 2009 and 400,000 in Europe (source: ZIV) electric bikes are the big surprise on the bicycle market for many people. For others they are the the logical consequence of exaggerated fuel cost and the most feasible way to escape congested roads. They are a good solution to follow the trend of a healthy lifestyle and being concious about the environemt. Plus, more and more cyclists are fascinated by the extra power and additional features the electric system offers. The answer to the frequently asked question if the electric bike trend is going to continue, should therefore be “yes”.
The increasing variety in product style, performance and target group allowed every Eurobike visitor to find his or her favorit pedelec or e-bike that fitted their need and taste. Products ranged from comfortable city bikes with various accessories to carry goods, well thought-out trekking and touring bikes to sporty speed pedelecs for commuting and fun as well as off-road bikes for those who love the extra kick. Starting out as convenient bikes for the elderly, e-bikes and pedelecs have now become trendy and useful everyday vehicles that even sportive riders don’t look down upon anymore.
Electric bikes that only serve their purpose from a rational point of view were yesterday. The bikes of today and tomorrow are turning into lifestyle products – they meet high expectations towards desing and performance and convince their customers emotionally. If they are fun to ride, cool looking and practical to use, the younger generations catch on to the electric spark. This was more than obvious when watching the action at the test track.
Most manufacturers now include speed pedelecs over 25 km/h into their product range. In fact, this has almost become a normalty rather than an exeption. The latest trend are electric mountainbikes. After KTM introduced their mountainbike with BionX drive at Bike Expo, Focus (Derby Cycle), Raleigh (Cycle Union), Biketech and Gepida followed with off-road bikes at Eurobike.
The ExtraEnergy Test as a Show Highlight
In addition to actual test rides, visitors could complete their study of the electric bike market in the exhibition of all pedelecs and e-bikes tested by ExtraEnergy this year. Those who did not have the chance to read through the test results, can download them in German or English language or order a printed version in German.
Part of the special exhibition in the East entrance area were also all stations (stairs, a ramp, bike carrier for cars), which are used in the ergonomics tests of ExtraEnergy to find out how an electric bike performs in every-day use. Visitors could choose a bike and test it at each station.
In a lecture on Friday, the testing partners velotech.de and SLG Prüf- und Zertifizierungs GmbH presented the preliminary results of their stability and electronic confromity tests, which were - in summary - not really satisfactory. But, the tests are still going on with the goal to introduce a GS mark for electric bikes in 2010.
More about the laboratory tests
ExtraEnergy announced that the next test unit with up to 30 pedelec / e-bike models will take place in October and November this year. The results of this test are supposed to be published in February 2010, just in time for the next bike season.
More about the 2009/10 Test
EnergyBus presented first Connectors
The EnergyBus organization presented the first standardized EnergyBus connectors at Eurobike in the East Foyer. Once in use, EnergyBus connectors will make the electronic component of an LEV more compatible and the vehicles safer.
Read the article
BATSO Tests now conducted in China
Battery safety, which the BATSO seal stands for, was another topic of the LEV supporting program. TUV Rheinland is now conducting battery safety tests in a specialized laboratory in China, certifies the tested battery packs and their manufacturers according to BATSO 01 standard. The certificate is a combination of the TUV test seal and the BATSO seal. The test results are published at www.tuv.com. BATSO seals that are not listed on this website, have not been granted officially.
The BATSO standard has been developed by the BATSO organization whose members are the renowned testing houses TUV Rheinland, UL USA/Taiwan, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) of Taiwan, and ExtraEnergy. In the context of plans to introduce a GS mark for electric bikes, BATSO will be a major topic in pedelec and e-bike testing.
More about BATSO
Training Programs for Bicycle Dealers
The training institute IWM (Gesellschaft für Internationale Wirtschaftsförderung & Management GmbH) in Erfurt and ExtraEnergy are planning special training courses for electric bikes aimed at bicycle dealers. The Federal Employment Office might finance these training courses to a certain amount. Bernd Schorr of IWM briefly introduced the training programs at Eurobike and invited bicycle dealers to join another information session on September 21 - 22, 2009 at IWM in Erfurt. For further information please contact Bernd Schorr at bernd.schorr(AT)iwmgmbh.eu
LEVA Networking Dinner
Over 80 members and guests from eighteen countries attended the Light Electric Vehicle Association (LEVA) dinner on Sept. 3, 2009 during Eurobike last week. These international attendees took the opportunity to network and meet their colleagues in the rapidly growing LEV market. The "pay your own way" dinner was held at the brand new Hangar Zeppelin restaurant located between the Zeppelin Hall and the main fairgrounds in Friedrichshafen.
LEVA executive director, Sid Kuropchak, welcomed the group and LEVA chairman, Edward Benjamin of Benjamin Consulting, spoke briefly. In addition, Annick Roetynck of ETRA (European Twowheel Retailers' Association) reminded guests of the upcoming meeting on Sept. 5th regarding the updating of EU Regulations and Hannes Neupert explained the efforts to date of EnergyBus.
Industry to consult with European Commission on Electric Bike Legislation
At a busy meeting on the last day of Eurobike, the first steps were made to lobby for better European regulations for 2 and 3-wheeled LEVs. Some 70 delegates from about 50 companies attended the meeting and represented an the majority share of the electric bike business in Europe.
Photos: Electric Bike Action at Eurobike 2009
Copy: Susanne Bruesch
Photos: Patrick Knappick, Susanne Bruesch, Nora Manthey, Lutz Kucher, press images Messe Friedrichshafen
Last updated: 21 September 2009