Pratically all main groups now sell ebikes, although only Jeep makes a sound turnover, and, to a lesser extent, Mercedes & Porsche.
Porsche, Mercedes, Volkswagen’s Skoda & Audi, BMW, Toyota, General Motors, Ford, Stellantis (Jeep, Peugeot): all car manufacturers groups excepted Renault (controlling Nissan & Mitsubishi) now sell ebikes. Is it akward, as if oil companies sold solar panels? Well, two of the biggest five, BP and Total, actually do it.
- Is the car brand involved in the ebike production, or has it just stuck its label on it?
- Why automakers sell ebikes? What are their goals?
- Car manufacturers ebike offer
Is the car brand involved in the ebike production, or has it just stuck its label on it?
There are different levels of engagement. Jeep is comparable to a main electric bikes manufacturer, selling a wide range of ebikes on many world markets. Mercedes is offering a performant and competitive range of electric bike models, stuffed with proprietary technology, whereas others, like Audi or Toyota, sell only one ebike model.
Some car manufacturers seem to invest in Ebike production. Jeep are probably the best selling car brand e-bikes, although they heavily rely on chinese components. Mercedes ebikes feature beautiful integrated displays and several powerful motors that seem manufactured or at least conceived by Mercedes itself, although I suspect Brose has played a role or could even be their manufaturer. Also Porsche seems to be taking the matter seriously, having bought high-tech drive manufacturer Fazua, although its e-bikes still mount a Shimano EP8 drive. On the other hand, Peugeot Cycles ebikes carry just the label, since Peugeot Cycles was bought back in 1992 by Swedish Grimaldi Industri, owner of Bianchi, Puch and other reputed ebike brands. That notwithstanding, Stellantis group owns both Peugeot and Jeep. Audi realizes its e-bikes through the Italian manufacturer Fantic, and BMW e-bikes are pratically manufactured by Italian 3T. No car manufacturer, excepted perhaps Mercedes, produces its own Ebike motors.
Why automakers sell ebikes? What are their goals?
Synergies are evident. Automakers can take advantage of the visibility and diffusion of car dealers’ beautiful, roomy showrooms. Moreover, car salesmen can dedicate to ebike clients the frequent periods without car clients. The latter could be or become interested in e-bikes, and vice versa. No-traffic areas keep widening in most cities, so why not offering an ebike, handy when one is compelled to abandon his car in a faraway parking?
Testing on the field selling strategies in the domain of sustainable mobility can be another motivation. After all, ebikes experience the same issues as electric cars, although on a reduced scale. Longer range, battery duration and prices are paramount for both electric bikes and cars.
Car brands sell
Although some e-bikes brands are nowadays quite established and reputed, most new buyers hardly know any ebike brand. Electric bikes carrying the logo of an established, reputed and even prestigious car manufacturer can be quite reassuring. Besides that, many people are willing to pay much more for apparel labelled BMW, Jeep, and so on. They are very likely to spend more for their beloved car brand’s sake, even when it is carried by an ebike.
Well, let’s appreciate the endeavor of these powerful companies to promote sustainable mobility. Whether it’s greenwashing or not, or to what extent, what matters is their promotion of ebikes, an effective tool to attenuate climate change and urban traffic pollution. Anyway, even electric car pure player Chinese-Swedish Polestar now sells e-bikes, although it sure doesn’t need to green up its image.
Car manufacturers ebike offer
Jeep offers many models:
- Trekking, with, among others, the Jeep Trekking E-Bike TLR 7011, 374 Wh battery, Chinese Xiongda 40Nm hub motor, for €2299, and Jeep SUV E-Bike UMM 7000, 630Wh battery, Motinova Volans 250 W 65 Nm mid-motor, for €3999.
- E-MTB, like the Jeep Mountain E-Bike MHM 7000, 250 W 80 Nm midmotor from Motinova, 630Wh battery, for €4099.
- At least four models of folding e-bikes.
- The top Jeep e-bike is the QUIETKAT, a powerful e-mtb with a 1000 Wh motor. Its Industry-leading Variable Power Output Technology allows for switching between class 1, class 2, or class 3 (for the U.S.) to stay compliant with local and BLM policies, or choose unrestricted to experience the full potential of the 1000Wh motor.
Mercedes offers three sharp looking sleek e-bikes, always with the same frame, sort of gravel e-bikes. Specifications are in line with best competitors, price to quality ratios competitive, albeit batteries are kind of weak for those ebike prices. All models are equipped with Enviolo constant variable belt transmission, and a digital LCD display seamlessly integrated into the center of the handlebar.
- The Formula E Team ebike starts at €3825, delivering a gorgeous 90 Newton meters of torque, aluminium frame, weighing only 20.5 kg, and a 360Wh battery (a bit weak for the ebike price).
- For €4990 you can get a Silver Arrows, the same bike in a brilliant aluminum color with a 612Wh battery, hence 1 kg heavier.
- There is an S-pedelec, the Silver Arrows Sport, basically a Silver Arrows with a 500 W engine, electrically assisted up to 40 km/h.
- There’s even the Championship edition electric bike, available to order. The dual motor – All Wheel Drive (AWD), delivers a massive 750W of power and an awesome 130Nm of torque.
These e-bikes are showcased on several websites, some directly related to Mercedes, others from dealers. They can be bought online with free shipping, or at certain Mercedes car dealers, even with 20 month zero interest installments. Another weak point is that there is only a single size for all e-bikes.
BMW e-bikes are all equipped with a Mahle x20 very light (1.8 kg for motor and battery together) drive, delivering only 23 Newton meters of torque. They are pratically manufactured by Italian ebike maker 3T. We already wrote here about the BMW Exploro ebikes. Prices start at €4999 for the Exploro Urban.
Audi sells an electric mountain bike, pratically manufactured by Italian Fantic, with a strong 720 Wh battery. At €8900, one must hope that its components are high quality.
Skoda offers only one model, few specifications are displayed thereof. It features a 500 W battery. this ebike looks quite plain and should not be expensive.
Porsche’s e-bike website boasts Fazua drive systems, hinting that in the near future they will launch Fazua equipped e-bikes, abandoning the Shimano EP8 drive mounted so far.
Ford Supercruiser ebike was launched back in 2013, pratically produced by California ebike maker Pedigo. It seems pretty outdated with its rear hub motor, rear rack battery and mechanical disc brakes. Nevertheless, it sported a 600 Watts motor. It seemed a bit expensive at $3595.
Toyota ebikes limits its offer to a cargo ebike pratically manufactured and sold only in France by French ebike manufacturer Douze.
Hummer eBikes from General Motors GMC is loyal to the rugged off-road character of the Hummer, now also an electric car.