ADAC E-Bike Test Was Misleading and Incorrect
BERLIN, Germany – Yesterday, at a joint press conference in Berlin Flyer maker Biketec, Bosch eBike Systems and Derby Cycle called the e-bike test results of Stiftung Warentest and ADAC which were published in May 2013 “Incorrect and misleading.”
At the press conference Biketec, Bosch and Derby Cycle provided new evidence to confirm their earlier doubts on the e-bike test results of Stiftung Warentest (StiWa ) and ADAC. After the publication of this test by the German Automobile Club ADAC, “A trend reversal started,” said former Derby Cycle CEO Mathias Seidler.
‘Disastrous’ e-bike test
Seidler referred to the ongoing growth in e-bikes sales before the publication of the ‘disastrous’ e-bike test results by ADAC. That growth was stopped and caused 50 million euro damage to the German bicycle industry and trade this year.
Kurt Schär, CEO of Biketec AG, went one step further in describing the damage caused to his company by the publication of false test results by Stiftung Warentest and ADAC last May. He said the damage was 8-digit big and with that “existence-threatening” for his company.
Mistakes and irresponsible interpretation
After an in-depth inspection and re-testing, the three leading e-bike and e-bike component manufacturers revealed mistakes in the StiWa test arrangements. They also criticized the irresponsible interpretation of the test results and their presentation to the media.
Unjustifiable safety warnings
With the support of the German industry association ZIV, the three companies clearly rejected the test results and confirmed that thorough re-examination of their products has proven the safety warnings by StiWa and ADAC to be unjustifiable.
The StiWa test rated 9 out of 16 electric bikes ‘insufficient’ due to breaking handlebars and frames, and because they failed the EMC test. Both, Derby Cycle and Bosch eBike Systems were unable to reproduce EMC failure in extensive re-examination tests.
Consequently Mathias Seidler and Klaus Fleischer, MD Bosch eBike Systems, called the StiWa test results ‘incorrect’ and ‘misleading to consumers’. By re-building the test bench StiWa used on which the dropout of the Flyer C5R frame broke, Biketec could prove that the mounting of the frame was inappropriate to get results that are relevant to actual bike use.
Correction of test results
The bike industry expects from StiWa and ADAC to better meet their responsibility as Germany’s leading and widely trusted test institutions. Also the industry called for more transparency in testing methods and for reproducible tests by StiWa and ADAC, summarized Siegfried Neuberger, ZIV’s MD. The three market leading companies insist a comprehensive correction of the test results, also in the media. They also call for an open discussion between the test institutions and the industry to improve testing methods.
Loss of all legal rights
The StiWa reacted on the allegations by the three companies and the ZIV promptly. They published a statement on their website which said that StiWa sticked to their test results. Referring to the call for more transparency StiWa said the test results were provided to the manufacturers before publication.
However, what StiWa didn’t mention, explained Matthias Seidler, is that delicate parts of information were missing. And that manufacturers had the opportunity to buy their test bike back after the test for re-examination, but at a high price – the loss of all legal rights!
The title of the StiWa test magazine issue 6/2013 and the test reports themselves implied that electric bikes are dangerous (“Elektrofahrräder: Das Risiko Fährt am E-Bike mit”). The wide-spread publication of the test results in Germany had triggered a whole wave of media reports about safety risks of electric bikes. As a result, consumers and dealers were alarmed on the e-bike ‘death-trap’, stopped buying products or even cancelled their orders. Not only that, Kurt Schär reported of hundreds of phone calls and letters from customers who expressed their fear, anger, mistrust, threats and requests to return their bikes.