For decades the shape of cars and bikes was influenced by the requirements set by fossil fuel engine technology. A petrol car requires cool air to reduce the engine heat. It triggered designers to create air intakes in the front of cars which became a vital tangible of the image of most brands. The fuel tank between the steering bar and the seat of a motor bike is what creates the ‘gestalt’ of a bike. The power and performance of a sports car is endorsed by the number, shape and size of its exhausts. All these examples loose their relevancy when the power plant is for instance electric.
New engine technology, whether it is electric with batteries, fuel cell or electric with a range extender offers new possibilities in design. The Toyota i-road, Renault Twizy or the Nissan Blade Glider are just examples of revolutionary designs with electric propulsion. The impact of electric power systems on designs of means of transportation is not limited to cars. Above is an example from the bike industry of a new type of vehicle which is a bicycle or a motor bike. Which is it? You decide after you
eROCKIT is an ingenious product which combines the basic characteristics of a bicycle with the speed of a light motorcycle. The bike is equipped with pedals, a powerful 8kW electric engine and a 3,1 KWh battery pack. With that package the eROCKIT offers a totally different level of performance and power on the street than regular pedelec e-bikes. For your comparison an average e-bike has a max. output of 250 – 500W). On the eROCKIT you control the speed through the pedals, which make it feels like riding a regular bike. Only a lot faster. Speeds of above 80 km/h or 50 mph are possible with ease.
Founder of eROCKIT is the Berlin based Stefan Gulas. He sees his brainchild definitely as a new category and rather calls it a tuned up bicycle than a low-end motorbike. The video below tells the eROCKIT story.
Curious about the market development for this new and innovative bike Marketing in Automotive spoke with the importer of the eROCKIT in the Netherlands, R. Lycklama a Nijeholt of New Trees Trading. He says that the combination of the driving fun of a motor cycle, the attention you get from people passing by and the low cost of operation makes this e-bike a really unique product. The low cost of operation of around € 0.01 only involves the amount spent recharging the battery. The investment you need to make to own one is not included, because with a MSRP around € 13.500 or $ 18.600 USD this bike is not a steal. New Trees Trading sees a considerable market for the eROCKIT in The Netherlands, which by itself is a bike-loving country with on top one the world’s most dense networks for recharging electric vehicles. The sales objectives of the eROCKIT are constrained by the production capacity of the factory in Berlin. This limitation was one of the reasons leading to the choice to abstain from building up a dealer network and to go for a direct selling approach via internet. When it comes to marketing communication, the focus is on free publicity as the main marketing communication tool. The attention from TV and press has been in such a way that MD Lycklama a Nijeholt could become choosy about his first buyers. If you are a TV-personality with a following and are willing to be a brand ambassador, the chances of you being amongst the first owners of an eROCKIT surely increase.
What would be your marketing approach for this high priced – thrill to ride – attention grabbing – sporty mean of urban transportation ?