Automotive drivetrain giant partners Magura and others for electric bike venture

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Magura has forged links with one of the automotive world’s largest drive manufactures ZF of Germany, as well as BrakeForceOne and Unicorn, a partnership that will focus on development of electric bike drive systems.

In a press release issued earlier this month Dr. Stefan Sommer, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, explained: “With this joint venture, we aim to redefine electromobility in the micromobility sector for two-, three- and four-wheeled vehicles.”

With a stake of 48 percent, ZF is the largest shareholder of the Tübingen-based joint venture. The areas of expertise for the other partners includes two-wheeler component technology and services (Magura, BrakeForceOne) and battery technology (Unicorn Energy).

Automotive big business interest in e-mobility is surging at present, something which CyclingIndustry.News has written at length about.

Friedrichshafen-based ZF’s investment in the project gives “support from a strong partner” to the bike industry innovator. Now an umbrella to the project, Zukunft Ventures GmbH was established in September 2016. This business will develop, manufacture and sell products into the e-mobility market, with product expected by late summer.

ZF believes that there is “great future potential” in the field of micromobility and this applies equally to the transport of people and cargo. Studies have already predicted enormous growth in the use of electric lightweight vehicles by 2030, particularly for city center logistics.

According to Dr. Stefan Sommer, “this new joint venture brings together the various forward-looking competencies of the individual partners: a high level of innovation, speed, global automotive production competence and first-class sales and service expertise.”

“Over the last few decades, our innovative braking systems have played a major role in shaping the evolution of the bicycle, especially mountain bikes and e-bikes,” explains Magura’s CEO, Ralph Berndt. “Our e-mobility expertise is characterized by extensive know-how and strong partnerships within the Magenwirth Technologies Group. This joint venture will help us create new dimensions with e-mobility.”

“We have joined forces to pool our complementary skills and knowledge in order to develop products for the strong growth in the electromobility market,” adds BFO CEO Frank Stollenmaier.

Unicorn Energy has further technology for electromobility in its portfolio. “Our core competencies are the development and standardization of battery systems with focus on infrastructure, energy management and communication. This is why our products are ideal for cross-divisional usage of mobile and stationary battery applications,” comments Michael Preiß, CEO of Unicorn Energy. “In the joint venture, it is through that expertise that Unicorn Energy will live up to the complex requirements of electromobility.”

Drive solutions for lightweight vehicles are a tradition for ZF. For example, the torpedo locking hub developed by a ZF predecessor company Fichtel & Sachs helped the bicycle break to achieve worldwide success at the beginning of the 20th century and set the industrial standard until well into the 1980s. Back in the 1930s, Sachs also supplied auxiliary motors for bikes, selling millions in particular during the 1950s. In 2001 ZF acquired Sachs from Mannesmann.