Rehau’s First Injection Molded E-Bike Bodies Hit Market Already in 2016
FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany – Today Rehau CEO Rainier Schulz presented its ‘nam:e’ e-bike that features an advanced ‘body’. It is made with a new frame building technology in which the company invested some 3 million euro.
The first nam:e e-bike will already be marketed under the Storck brand name next year. Storck Bicycle and the Institute of lightweight and Polymer Technology (ILK) of the TU Dresden are partners in the development process of the Rehau e-bike body.
From car bumpers to e-bike bodies
The German automotive component maker is a 3 billion euro company that employs a staff of 19,000. The concept for developing the e-bike body derived from Rehau’s core business which is making bumpers for cars. The phrase ‘bumper’ is nowadays, according to Rehau, hardly applicable to the current impact defense systems on cars. Such impact resistant parts are now an integral part of a car and holds lots of other components; from lights to sensors. However, some 50 years ago a car bumper was like a bike frame; a unit on which lots of other parts were bolted on. According to Rehau’s concept the bike frame can be turned into a ‘body’ that holds the e-bike drivetrain, battery, motor-controller as well as cables.
Economy of scale
The Rehau e-bike body comes in a one size fits all adjustable unit. Weight of the frame stands at 3,200 grams. An electric bike that is made with this body is expected to be retail priced below 4,000 euro. That is when an economy of scale is reached with a production level of several hundred thousand units annually.
The Rehau e-bike body is manufactured through an injection molding process. The automotive supplier claims to have a production system in place which allows for customization without the need for large series production. “The master designs is adaptable to different e-bike models and to different e-bike drive systems.”
Need for big partners
Rehau started the development process already back in 2012. The company invested some 3 million euro while the German government put up about 2.5 million euro as a subsidy. Rehau CEO Rainier Schulz made no secret of the fact that his e-bike body project is in need of big partners from the bike industry to reach the necessary economy of scale with big production numbers. Development partner Markus Stock said that Rehau’s e-bike bodies will revolutionize the bike industry. Not only because of the new concept and technology but also because it’s made in Germany which bring lead times down maybe to what Rehau is used to in the automotive sector which is four to six hours instead of the usual 120 to 180 days for bike composite frames.