MIFA develops chainless e-bike
"This development, which has delivered functionality to the generator/motor principle, represents a top achievement," commented Sandy Hille, engineer at MIFA. The generator is operated by the pedal, using the energy generated to drive the motor on the rear wheel. Compared with classic e-bikes, this approach dispenses with the drive chain and gearshift - thereby offering clear benefits: "Since the performance electronics can be managed intelligently, this bike can be ridden like a 'normal' bicycle - although much more easily," notes Hille. "And what's more, the cyclist can set the degree of electrical support without having to go through steps, which further boosts riding comfort."
Cyclists can also now save various ride profiles as required, which also allows the travelling distance to be optimised. Communication is by means of standard smart phones, which are connected with the cycle management system via Bluetooth interface. This development is unique, since the transfer of torsional moment functions purely electrically, and the gear switch functions purely electronically. MIFA developed the X-PESA prototype together with the IAI (Institut für Automatisierung und Informatik) GmbH and the Harz University of Applied Sciences in Wernigerode. All requisite proofs of functionality have already been successfully provided.
"The experiences we had with our partners in this project were very positive," was how Michael Hecken, head of marketing and strategy, commented on the co-operation venture. "We are particularly proud of the fact that MIFA has entered new technical territory with this prototype." This new drive type will also significantly support MIFA in its sales strategy: "The innovative X-PESA system can be deployed exceptionally in the growth market with multi-user vehicles - for instance, in major metropolitan rental projects for which the drive, above all, should be functional. With this prototype, we are also delivering product that the premium specialised trade sector has long been waiting for: the chainless bicycle."
MIFA-Bike Gesellschaft mbH
MIFA Mitteldeutsche Fahrradwerke AG, which is based in Sangerhausen (Saxony-Anhalt / Germany), is Germany's largest manufacturers of bicycles in terms of sales. The company produces bicycles from supplied components, whereby the focus is on project-related order production for large retail chains. E-bikes have also been produced since 2011. MIFA also acquired the majority of Berlin-based e-bike manufacturer GRACE GmbH & Co. SG in March 2012, which mainly produces premiumsegment e-bikes. Among other customers, GRACE produces the e-bike for automotive manufacturer Daimler (for the smart brand). Outside Germany, MIFA sells its bicycles mainly in Western Europe; in this context, both the operating business and administration and logistics are managed at the company's sole production location in Sangerhausen.
MIFA sold around 644,000 bicycles in 2011 (previous year: around 593,000). In doing so, the company generated EUR 100.5 million of sales revenue, representing a 31.4% increase compared with the previous year (EUR 76.5 million). On this revenue, the company achieved operating profit (EBIT) of EUR 4.6 million (previous year: EUR 2.0 million), and net income stood at EUR 2.0 million (previous year: EUR 0.3 million). Its shares are traded in the Prime Standard on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since July 17.