eflow Europe Steps Into Rental Bike Business
FÜRTH, Germany – eflow Europe GmbH (Eurobike stands B4-308) is known for its urban and sportive e-bike lines that stand out by their distinctive battery design fitted into the seat post. In close cooperation with Taiwan-based development and production partner Fairly Bike Manufacturing, eflow is now exploring a potentially large new business field – rental bikes.
Out of 14 participants, eflow Europe has won a European-wide call for bids to develop a new rental bike fleet for the city of Mainz. As of 2018, the German city wants to replace their current bicycle fleet by a new generation of at least 500 non-electric bikes. Based on the learnings from the previous generation, the development of the new fleet implies a set of over 700 specifications to improve the handling, security and usability of the sharing system. “This puts an enormous challenge to the development, design and production of the bikes,” said eflow CEO Bernd Adamski. “The list of requirements reaches from high quality to universal bike size, protection against vandalism and lastly to best price.”
Connected with Fairly Bike Manufacturing
eflow’s involvement in fleet bikes was initiated by Velobility founder Philip Douglas of SwissFleet Services GmbH in Zurich, Switzerland, who contributed his experience in bike sharing solutions to the German-Taiwanese cooperation. With eflow’s local presence and direct approach to fleet operators and local decision makers in Europe on the one hand and the production capacities, expertise and flexibility that Fairly Bike Manufacturing brings to the table on the other hand, “we have the right setup to adapt our products to almost any catalogue of requirements for both, regular and electric bikes,” Adamski said. For the next step that the city of Mainz and other fleet operators are planning to take, eflow already has an electric model underway.
NuVinci hub for commercial fleets
The current, non-electric solution features the extra-robust NuVinci N330F hub for commercial fleets, replaces the steel frame by an aluminum one, fully protects the drive train as well as all cables that lead to the cockpit over a double crown fork. “A key aspect to fleet bike design is the serviceability of the bikes,” said eflow-designer Norbert Haller, who runs the German industrial design studio IDBerlin. While specializing in two-wheeled rental bike design, development and production, eflow puts its focus on the implementation of new technologies and the opening of new markets for fleet operation in Europe, Adamski summarised.
Lifting production to next level
This route map is backed by Fairly Bike, one of Taiwan’s most influential bicycle manufacturers. Fairly operates four factories with a production capacity of 110,000 complete bikes annually – 15% of which are electric – and supplies over a dozen international brands with high-tech products. Fairly has just heavily invested into a new administration and R&D building at its headquarter in Taipei’s Tucheng District and is going to invest another 2 million USD to “lift our production to the next level,” as CEO Percy Chien said at Fairly’s 40-year anniversary celebration in Taipei this March. “40 years means to face new challenges and get ready for the future.”