The Convergence of Car and Bike

Another day brings another radical car-inspired eBike design.  This one from Italian automotive design house Pininfarina, a company whose clients include brands like  Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, FIAT, GM, Lancia, Maserati, and Hyundai.  Pininfarina’s new client?  Germany’s Diavelo.

pininfarina-diavelo-accell-group-e-voluzione-electric-sports-bike_dezeen_sq-468x468

The “pBike” Photo courtesy Pininfarina and Design.

The auto industry has discovered bicycles in a big way.  This is significant and it changes everything for those of us who love to bike.  The car as we know it is going the route of the videocassette recorder. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen…probably sooner than most people think.  The die is cast.

Those of us who cycle have known for a long time that a bicycle is absolutely the best way to complete short trips like those of five miles or less.   We’ve advocated and evangelized, but at the end of the day we’re a relatively small, fragmented group.  We don’t have economic power.  We don’t have the critical mass to change things on our own. We need outside help and now we’re getting it.

It seems crystal clear at this point that automobile companies will soon be marketing and selling electric bikes for transportation purposes.  The big eBike names will be acquired by car companies, tech companies and others outside the industry.  There’s not a lot of profit in selling a bicycle, but you can make it up in volume.  These firms plan to sell tens of millions of bicycles.  They have the marketing muscle to pull it off.

As they do, the push for safe bicycle infrastructure will very quickly reach a crescendo.  Millions of new bicyclists, even eBicyclsts, means millions of former motorists.  It will dramatically change the streetscape in America and around the world.

These are exciting times.  Stay tuned.

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