Business intelligence

myFC Outlook: A vehicle with a future of its own – the electric cargo bike gains ground

myFC Outlook is non-regulatory information, business intelligence, from myFC's communications department. The content reflects industries and segments that are part of or close to the company's sphere of interest. The numbers and data in this text are not to be considered as a forecast for future revenues.

The rapid population development of the modern city puts the finger on some problems, such as the infrastructure being overloaded and the air unhealthy when all humans and goods are to be transported. Innovations for sustainable mobility are therefore welcome, such as the electric cargo bike.
– In recent years, sales of cargo bikes have increased by about 50percent per year in Europe, says myFC's CEO Michael Glantz, who sees great potential for their own technology with micro fuel cells in the segment.

In the early 80's, the so-called Christiania bicycle became part of the cityscape in Copenhagen: a three-wheeled bicycle with a box for cargo between the front wheels. The smart bike was designed by an entrepreneur in the city.
More manufacturers discovered the potentials, and eventually someone put an electric motor on the model. The electrified cargo bike  was born, a smart and sustainable transport solution for a modern urbanity and mobility. In the 2010s, parents of young children discovered the model. They put the kids in the cargo box, equipped with seat belts, and could then quickly and easily get to schools and preschools without getting stuck in traffic jams.


Modern mobility. The cargo bike was already a smart product, but with an electric motor on it, it got a much wider area of ​​use. It is utilized for everything from transporting children or grocery bags to moving furniture and other goods.

But the electric cargo bike can manage many more things than that. In the cities, everything from suppliers of small goods to craftsmen and moving companies have seen the advantage of the model, which is an example of environmentally friendly, sustainable and smart mobility for the 2020s.
One company that has taken an interest in the electric cargo bike is the Swedish electricity company Göteborg Energi, which bought a couple of cargo bikes to use as transportation for technicians who install meters for electricity and long-distanced heating. The bicycles are mainly used for assignments within a radius of a few kilometers.
Electric cargo bikes are a segment where myFC see great opportunities for their technology with malleable and scalable micro fuel cells.

–If you combine the bikes' batteries with fuel cells and a smaller hydrogen tank, it is possible to extend the range properly, while the continuously and optimized charging gives significantly longer life for the batteries, saysMichael Glantz.

The technology can be built into the frame of the bikes, and then keeps the battery fully charged. When the hydrogen gas runs out, it is a quick process to refill the tank, it only takes a few minutes.

–We can also see that an infrastructure for the sale of hydrogen in lightweight containers the size of ordinary soft drink bottles, easily could be built up with sales at petrol stations for example. There are already examples of this in Estonia.

 

One country where the cargo bike has become particularly popular is Belgium. There they have a stronger cargo bike market than, for example, Germany which is one of the major manufacturing countries for the models and has a population more than seven times as large as Belgium.
The background is a national investment in electric bicycles. The Belgians have also invested in making their cities more bicycle-friendly, a trend that is also seen in the neighboring capital of France. In Paris, a lot of money has been invested in building a good infrastructure for cycling. Among other things, there are cycle paths along the river Seine that cut through the city.
One who early on saw the possibilities with the cargo bike is the Dutchman JorritKreek. In 2009, he co-founded the cargo bike company Urban Arrow Kreek.
In an interview with the online magazine Bike Europe Jorrit Kreek says that in the beginning they aimed at families with children. But soon the company saw extended opportunities, including the Business-to-business market and transport companies that want to be able to work more efficiently and quickly in crowded environments. According to Jorrit Kreek, this development is likely to continue.

–Today, 70 percent of Europeans live in cities, and that figure will continue to rise in the coming decades, he says in the interview with Bike Europe.

 

For myFC, soft mobility is a priority segment. The company regards the cargo bike as an interesting product where their own patented technology with micro fuel cells would make a big difference.

–If you imagine a fleet of electric cargo bikes, used as delivery vehicles, equipped with fuel cells, there is in theory possible to reach an operating time of up to 99.5 percent and substantially extend the range, says MichaelGlantz.

The company is already running a development project together with a global manufacturer of bicycle systems, with a focus on increased range and accessibility for electric bicycles.