Portugal to Develop E-Mobility Industry
PORTO, Portugal – Last month ABIMOTA, the Portuguese industry association, organised a Congress on e-bikes and ‘Mobilidade Suave’ (smooth mobility). At the event, the set-up of a development centre for light electric vehicles was announced.
Beside the much discussed mainstream trend with growth in electric (urban) mobility in the next years, there’s another factor that comes into play with the Portuguese industry’s focus on e-bikes and LEV’s. And that’s the fact that the country’s reasonably big bicycle industry (estimated annual production capacity of up to 1.5 million bikes) is too dependent on OE orders. Such as those from Decathlon; the sporting goods giant with a chain of sports-supermarkets in and outside Europe. Decathlon is also regarded as Europe’s biggest single bicycle seller.
The Bicycle Market in Portugal (in units)
Sources: ABIMOTA, Eurostat
*Import from outside EU only
Dependent on OE business
Portuguese bike maker RTE is Decathlon’s number one bike supplier in Europe and because of that, THE dominant player in the Portuguese industry. RTE is responsible for approximately 70% to 80% of the overall Portuguese bike production, estimated at around 700,000 units for 2012. Next to RTE, Decathlon also sources its bikes from A.J. Maias, another bike maker in Portugal. This situation, as well as the fact the Spanish bike brands Orbea, BH Bikes, and Interbike have a big part of their bicycles made in Portugal, makes the country’s industry highly dependent on OE business. This prompted ABIMOTA’s secretary-general Paulo Rodrigues at the ‘Mobilidade Suave’ Congress to say, “We need to have our own brands. We need to add value to our products.”
ABIMOTA project CCLEV
High priced e-bikes could be the appropriate means to reach that goal of adding value. Especially because Portugal has the relevant skills for producing components, as well as complete e-bikes, e-scooters, and LEVs. Magnum Cap (www.magnumcap.com) is currently running a pilot project in Lisbon with a public electric bike scheme. Miralago – Órbita is also a specialist in public bike systems and one that is responsible for a big part of Velib bikes for Paris’ bike-sharing programme. As well, Portugal has numerous bicycle and parts makers (Miranda, Rodi, Polisport to just name of few) also motorcycle and scooters assembly centers from Honda and Yamaha, which all are able to contribute to what ABIMOTA calls, “A cluster as the core of the Development Centre for Light Electric Vehicles (CCLEV).”
CCLEV is an ABIMOTA project in partnership with “Portugal Mobi 2015” (the Pole of Competitiveness and Technology for the Mobility Industry). “The CCLEV will have an industry innovation basis and will also focus on technological integration as well as design quality. As for the start of the project, the involvement of ABIMOTA and CEIIA (Center for Excellence and Innovation in the Car Industry) will be a reality. New partners can be included for specific projects and needed expertise.” This is stated in the documentation that was handed out at the ‘Mobilidade Suave’ (smooth mobility) Congress that took place November 21 in Porto. All these initiatives focused on, “Promoting Portugal as a hub for specialised knowledge throughout the LEV mobility chain.”