Taipei--The growing interest in electronic bikes worldwide will bring opportunities for designers, with the biggest challenge being the integration of batteries and smart devices into bicycles and enhanced user-centric services, said Ralph Wiegmann, CEO of iF International Forum Design GmbH (iF) on Wednesday.
Sharing his ideas with CNA on the many aspects of bike-related design on the opening day of the Taipei International Cycle Show, Wiegmann said increasingly more focus is being placed on e-bikes.
However, while the market is seeing growing demand for e-bikes, there remain many technical challenges to be solved so that designers can create more appealing e-bikes, he said.
For instance, Wiegmann said, because the German automobile manufacturer Porsche is the dominant e-bike battery provider, design is currently constrained by Porsche's bulky batteries.
"From a design point of view, the battery issue is making it difficult to create very beautiful e-bikes," Wiegmann said.
In addition to batteries, designers must wrack their brains to create e-bikes with built-in smart features so that, for example, e-bike cyclists no longer have to carry cellphones to keep a record of the distance traveled.
In addition, he said, there will be increasing need for a network bringing together personnel, infrastructure, communication and material components to better serve customers.
"I can imagine that in five to 10 years, there will be cooperation between industries that never co-worked before," Wiegmann said, adding that the trend could be found in all sectors.
Wiegmann also envisions that automobile companies will work more closely with e-bike manufactures to keep themselves competitive by offering e-bike cyclists more mobility options especially now that the global auto market is shrinking.
Wiegmann said he is looking forward to continuing e-bike development in Taiwan.
"Taiwanese are always so quick, luckily, in adopting new technology and new opportunities. That's one of the big advantages of Taiwanese," he said.
According to the Taiwan Bicycle Association, although the export volume of complete bicycles slipped by 26.18 percent to 2.949 million units last year, e-bikes achieved an export volume of 132,000 units, surging 58.6 percent year-on-year.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel