The LEVA-EU team thoroughly enjoyed the many meetings with members, candidate members and other parties interested in Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs) at Eurobike this year. Having live discussions about innovations, market expansion, sustainable policies, rules and regulations, changing public opinion, … was so refreshing and inspiring. However, we still don’t understand why we all had to move.
Throughout the meetings, LEVA-EU received many compliments on the work done so far and just as many encouragements to keep up the good work. There is still a lot of work left to do in many different fields: e-cargocycles, speed pedelecs, e-trailers, e-scooters, … Eurobike convinced us of the fact that LEVA-EU is on the right track in fighting the LEV-corner.
On the Thursday, in the traditional info-meeting, LEVA-EU presented an update on important European regulatory issues involving electric bicycles and other light, electric vehicles. The agenda included the review of technical legislation for E-Bikes and all other LEVs, state of play in standardization, the EU proposal for a new battery Regulation and the DLR-report on emission saving potential of LEVs. Please contact LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested in receiving the presentation.
All in all, this Eurobike was suitably different from all other editions. At last, it is no longer a bicycle show, it has now finally started to reflect the large diversity of LEVs available on the market to cater for a variety of use and users. Only on Friday afternoon, we made it to the outdoor test-track where we feasted our eyes on a vast range of (sometimes crazy) vehicles with 1, 2, 3 or more wheels. A truly exciting sight!
And yet, we are not entirely happy with some of the fundamental changes that Eurobike has undergone. The Messe is monstrously large and it takes up a lot of time to get from one hall to another. The lay-out is very confusing and some halls are not exactly attractive. LEVA-EU was forced to resort to a meeting room off hall 9.1. Although it was a quiet place to meet and catch one’s breath, we were completely excluded from the fairground itself. Many people found it difficult to find us. Also, according to several companies, who either had a stand this year or were considering taking a stand next year, participation is far more expensive than in Friedrichshafen. Furthermore, some prospective exhibitors were turned down because, allegedly, there was not enough room. Unusual policy, considering there was clearly enough free space available to accommodate more exhibitors.
The question is also how much bigger Eurobike wants to become. There are still some halls available, but it was already impossible for professional visitors to see everything in three days. The question also seems to be whether there is really a need for more square metres or rather for finetuning the exhibition concept? Also, Frankfurt has not proven that it was really necessary to move house. What is the added value of the new location? Our travel-time has been reduced with a few hours but we, for one, would gladly return to Friedrichshafen. There, we have our familiar holiday home, our preferred restaurants and a heavenly spot on the lakeshore where we can enjoy the sunset over a glass of wine after the fair. We still do not understand why we had to give all this up for Frankfurt.
As for visitors, this edition of Eurobike did not do better than the last edition before COVID, which was in 2019. This year, the fair welcomed 33,780 visitors compared to 39,834 in 2019, that is still more than 15% less. On Saturday and Sunday, 27,370 consumers came round to see the show, compared to 21,240 in 2019. That is almost 30% more but the 2019 show only had 1 day, this year there were two public days.
Next year, Eurobike is planned in the penultimate week of June. Who has been consulted about this? Certainly not the many dealers who will have to leave their shop for an exhibition in THE busiest time of the year. And what about all the parents who, in that period, are on call to support their children in exams or who are expected to attend long-awaited proclamations? The dates have been chosen with a view to linking Eurobike to the German National Cycling Congress on 20 and 21 June. Federal Mobility Minister Volker Wissing stated: “Next year we are going to combine two major dates for the cycling community in Germany and therefore create more and better opportunities for an exchange between professionals, cycling enthusiasts and policymakers. My goal is to have us all pulling together at our National Cycling Congress to make it easier for people to choose sustainable modes of transport. This includes systematically closing gaps in the cycling network and improving the relationship between bicycles and other vehicles. Since Eurobike follows right after, I’m hoping for plenty of input for digital and innovative solutions. I’m looking forward to a successful event in Frankfurt.”
Unfortunately, the Minister seems to forget that Eurobike is an international exhibition, so it might prove tricky to get Chinese, American or even French trade visitors interested in a German national cycling congress. Moreover, trade visitors are at Eurobike for doing business. It proves to be very difficult to attract their attention for anything that takes their focus away from that business. Time will have to tell whether the National Cycling Congress delegates will be an interesting addition to the traditional public of Eurobike trade visitors.