If it follows by means of — and there’s no purpose to assume it gained’t; an electrical mountain bike would slot in properly with the corporate’s particular model of out of doors journey autos — Rivian will face a problem that many different automakers have additionally confronted, which is how to construct a profitable micromobility enterprise.
I feel there’s no query that Rivian might construct a actually cool-looking e-bike. The firm has actually made a mark for itself by designing beautifully made and incredibly fun to drive products. But I do assume it’s questionable as to whether or not folks would need an e-bike that shares a model identify with a lineup of SUVs and vehicles. And in the event that they do, there’s no assure that Rivian will likely be profitable in its pursuit.
Rivian is the newest firm specializing in greater autos to dip a toe into the world of electrical two-wheelers. And there’s some purpose to be skeptical. Often, while you hear about car firms releasing their very own electrical bikes, it’s simply a model licensing deal. (Think Jeep’s e-bike or these Hummer bikes from final decade.) Other instances, it’s a much-hyped undertaking that finally ends up falling sufferer to company value slicing, like General Motors’ Ariv e-bikes.
Rivian is the newest firm specializing in greater autos to dip a toe into the world of electrical two-wheelers
But sometimes, one thing fascinating emerges, like Harley-Davidson’s recently released Serial 1 e-bikes. Granted, Harley-Davidson has a higher justification for stepping into the e-bike biz provided that it already focuses on two-wheeled conveyance. But it’s nonetheless a firm that constructed its model and its status on inner combustion engines, even because it begins to chart a completely different course for itself.
This is the place Rivian might probably make an argument for itself. The firm doesn’t have to reckon with a legacy of constructing ICE autos. Nor does it want to deal with its e-bike undertaking as a science experiment in electrical motors. It already has a agency footing in that world, making any type of translation into a smaller kind issue much less of a heavy carry.
Sure, firms usually file logos for merchandise they don’t find yourself utilizing, however the potential for development in e-bikes is basically onerous to deny. E-bike gross sales grew by a whopping 240 percent in contrast to gross sales information from two years in the past, making it the third-largest biking class when it comes to gross sales income.
Rivian isn’t the one automaker that sees potential in e-bikes. Porsche not too long ago unveiled a pair of high-priced, full-suspension electrical mountain bikes, the Sport and the Cross, that it’s making with long-standing accomplice Rotwild. The German automaker additionally acquired two e-bike affiliated firms in current months: Croatian e-bike company Greyp and Fazua, an e-bike drivetrain manufacturer that specializes in lightweight motors. BMW has additionally launched a pair of rad-looking e-bike concepts which will get produced alongside its cyberpunk-looking electric moped.
Even Elon Musk has mused about making a Tesla-branded e-bike
Even Elon Musk has mused about making a Tesla-branded e-bike — however don’t maintain your breath ready for that one.
There are much less recognizable however extra significant hyperlinks between the auto trade and the world of e-bikes. As famous by Puneeth Meruva in her excellent Flywheel newsletter, Tier-1 provider Bosch is without doubt one of the main producers of e-bike powertrains. The firm has grow to be synonymous with well-crafted, highly effective, and premium-priced e-bike motors and appears to have locked many of the legacy bike makers into profitable offers. And in one other signal of the potential for enormous development in e-bike gross sales, the German firm simply introduced plans to make these motors within the US at a $260 million manufacturing unit in Charleston, South Carolina.
It’s unclear whether or not Rivian would go the Porsche / BMW route of constructing its personal e-bike or the Bosch route of constructing the motors and batteries that could possibly be plugged into different firms’ frames. Lots of people appear to assume that the way forward for e-bikes rests within the palms of the direct-to-consumer manufacturers like Rad Power Bikes, Juiced, Super73, and others. But the legacy bike producers are adapting, evidenced by their spinoffs like Trek’s Electra, Giant’s Momentum, and Specialized’s Globe.
There’s a lot to unpack, and far will depend upon whether or not the e-bike market stays fractured or whether or not an incumbent finally emerges to gobble up the vast majority of the market share. It could possibly be Rivian, or one other automaker for that matter — however I wouldn’t rely on it.