2022 “couldn’t have gone better” for the Zwickau-based manufacturer of retrofit electric bicycle drives
In 2022, Pendix GmbH completed the purchase of its cooperation partner VSC Bike GmbH, a cargo bike box supplier; alongside this, Johnson Electric Group now holds a majority 80% stake in Pendix. With so much activity, it’s unsurprising that the business’ previous record year of 2021 has been overtaken by another record year.
For Pendix Managing Director Thomas Herzog, the year 2022 could not have gone better: “After the two Corona years, it was great to finally meet colleagues from the industry again without restrictions at the trade fairs. And we are also completely satisfied internally. We have ten new colleagues, are now 63 people and are still looking for support. Even if we continue to grow, also in terms of personnel, we want to maintain our team spirit… We want to continue with this motivation in 2023. The cooperation with Johnson Electric gave us wings again.”
The demand for retrofit systems continues to grow, with the brand’s largest market being the Netherlands, representing almost 10% of 2022’s turnover.
Comments Off on A discussion on German cycling: Thomas Herzog, Managing Director of Pendix, and Ernst Brust, founder of the renowned testing institute Velotech.
The recent interview covers themes such as Made in Germany, the e-bike boom, and LEVA-EU member Pendix.
Racing, cargo, or recumbent bike? How do industry professionals such as yourself get around?
Thomas Herzog: I recently bought a kind of modern Dutch bike from one of our partners. I like the idea behind it. The Dutch company Roetz collects dead bikes from the streets and dismantles them; individual parts are recycled, and the frames are sandblasted and repainted. This is upcycling at its best. Every bike is unique. A little bit retro, a little bit modern, and above all sustainable.
Ernst Brust: I have a small fleet of bicycles in the basement. Right now, I prefer riding my folding bike, which is ideal for the city. Even with it being so small, there is still room for a Pendix drive; at my age, it’s sometimes necessary! But of course, I have more bikes: one cargo bike, and several racing bikes. The one I ride depends on the situation.
The bicycle industry is booming. More bikes are sold every year. What do you think about this development?
Ernst Brust: Well, for me as a bicycle enthusiast it is of course fantastic. I find the development extremely exciting, and I am always amazed at the technological progress in terms of safety. In the 1950s and 60s, the evolution of bicycles came to a standstill because everyone was only interested in cars. Then in the 1980s, innovations slowly came along like mountain bikes with sprung wheel forks and aluminum wheels. At the beginning of my career, I would see bicycles where, for example, the screws were not subject to any standard, which would be unthinkable today. And now ABS systems are being developed to further increase security.
Thomas Herzog: We don’t want to forget the environmental aspect either. Climate change is a reality. Anyone who rides a bicycle can do their part to ensure that future generations can still enjoy our planet. Today there is a suitable bike for everyone, regardless of whether it is powered by pure muscle power or by electric power. E-bikes and normal bicycles are now almost level in sales. Of course, I don’t believe that e-bikes will completely replace conventional bikes, they are too popular in the sporting field, but for those who use wheels as a means of purpose, i.e. to get comfortably from A to B, I can see e-bikes remaining a big hit.
Does it always have to be ‘Made in Germany’ for you?
Ernst Brust: The term is difficult. A modern bike consists of so many individual parts – for every screw, every spring, and every coil to be made in Germany is impossible. I don’t know of a single company where all components are completely sourced from Germany. Made in Europe would be a better fit. When it comes to bikes from other parts of the world, I’m mostly suspicious if I don’t know the manufacturer. There are good and bad companies everywhere, so I wouldn’t generally judge the quality of a bike by its country of origin. In general, I always recommend getting advice and if in doubt, spending a few euros more. If you buy cheap, you often buy twice. Unfortunately, the saying is true all too often.
Thomas Herzog: I can confirm that I always pay attention to quality, including for Pendix products. Wherever possible, we rely on regional suppliers. This is also the reason that we are based in Zwickau – here we benefit from synergies with the VW plant. Of course, they cannot work without international partners, this has advantages and disadvantages. Supply chains are now longer than they were in the past. So, we need more advanced planning, and the quality must not suffer. For me, the Made-in-Germany principle regards actual production. It is about the selection of high-quality components, the shortest possible delivery routes, and fair working conditions. This creates a quality product.
In October 2022, the Johnson Electric Group from Hong Kong joined Pendix as a strategic partner. Has the alignment changed anything?
Thomas Herzog: No, definitely not. Johnson Electric has similar quality standards to ours. It was clear to us from the start that we would only make such a step with a partner on an equal footing and with the same goals. Johnson Electric is a global company, and our cooperation makes it easier for us to access raw materials and components but nothing changes in the processes. We continue to produce in Wilkau, work together with our long-standing partners, and will continue to deliver the usual Pendix quality in the future.
Finally, a look into the crystal ball: Will Germany develop into a cycling country?
Ernst Brust: As far as the industry is concerned, yes, the car is out. Since Driving in inner cities is becoming less and less fun, the number of cyclists is likely to increase automatically. A lot of people from the automotive industry are moving to bicycle manufacturing because they see future potential there. And for many newcomers, the bicycle business is now the first choice for many engineers.
I still see a lot of room for improvement in transport planning, countries like Holland or Norway currently have a clear lead. Municipalities should invest in, for example, more Covered cycle paths which are still a rarity here.
Thomas Herzog: I think we’re on the right track, but such developments need time. Many people no longer use their bikes only when the weather is good or for tours, but as a means of transport in any season. People ride to work, go shopping, and even on vacation. It is an attitude to life, a lifestyle.
Also, in the field of micromobility – i.e. the so-called last mile – everything is on the rise. Where suppliers used to be on congested streets, cargo bikes are increasingly on the road today. In my eyes, this one trend will continue to increase, the golden years of the bicycle have only just begun.
Johnson Electric announces the acquisition of an 80% stake in LEVA-EU member Pendix GmbH, a well-established technology-driven market player in the e-bike industry. Based in Zwickau, Germany, Pendix designs, manufactures, and brings complete electric cargo bikes and electric drives for bicycles to market. Pendix’s offering combines leading innovation with an extremely high level of product reliability.
“By welcoming Pendix as part of Johnson Electric Group, we are expanding our e-mobility offering and entering the e-bike market. With Johnson Electric’s industrial scale and global reach together with Pendix’s expertise in the e-bike sector, we are positioning ourselves into a fast-growing and innovative industry,” said Dr. Patrick Wang, Chairman and CEO of Johnson Electric.
“Our engineering center in Dresden, Germany, is in close proximity to Zwickau. This will enable close collaboration with the highly skilled Pendix team. We’re excited about expanding into the e-bike sector, and by doing so we hope to create a more sustainable future for personal mobility,” added Austin Wang, Senior Vice President of Johnson Electric.
All Pendix founders, who started the company in 2013, will remain shareholders of Pendix and continue in their active management roles to lead the business growth plans.
“We are extremely pleased to join such a reputable company as Johnson Electric and are convinced that our common passions for innovation and engineering perfection together with a strong cultural fit are a great foundation for reaching the next level of success,” commented Thomas Herzog, co-founder and CEO of Pendix GmbH.
Comments Off on Pendix: Eurobike was a complete success
The Zwickau-based drive specialist and LEVA-EU member Pendix can look back on a successful Eurobike. The company presented its various eDrive drive systems at the world’s largest bicycle trade fair, which was held for the first time in Frankfurt am Main. The Pendix eDrive INs aroused particularly great interest – a serial hybrid drive that was specially designed for the B2B sector.
The crowd at the Pendix stand was already large during the dealer days. Companies and journalists informed themselves about the innovative drive technology of the Pendix eDrive IN and its possible uses. Test drives were possible for the first time on the test site outside the halls, which many visitors took advantage of and were amazed at the chainless drive.
Interest was also unbroken during the end customer days. The established retrofit systems for the private sector continue to be a sustainable option for turning your own bike into an e-bike. “Many customers also take the drive with them when they buy a new bike,” reports Alexandra Elschker, Head of Marketing at Pendix.
She looks back with satisfaction: “The days at the trade fair were exhausting, but the atmosphere and the feedback from customers were phenomenal. After the long Corona break, it was just nice to be able to talk to people on site again. Above all, the visits and discussions with our long-standing customers were great. The generous ambiance in Frankfurt has taken everything to a new level.”
It was also a special experience for Managing Director Thomas Herzog: “It wasn’t our first Eurobike, but the trade fair was still very exciting for us. For the first time, visitors could drive the Pendix eDrive INs themselves and give us direct feedback. What can I say? The feedback was consistently positive – after the hard work and the waiting time caused by the pandemic, it is difficult to put into words how happy we were. We were often praised for our app, but also for our service and our reliable availability, which made us just as happy. We can hardly wait for Eurobike 2023.”
Comments Off on Pendix at Eurobike: serial hybrid you can touch
The drive specialist, and LEVA-EU member, Pendix is also represented at the Eurobike trade fair this year, which this time is primarily dedicated to future mobility. In line with this, the Zwickau-based company is presenting its innovative Pendix eDrive IN hub drive, which was specially designed as a B2B product for the bicycle and micro-mobility sector. Visitors can try out the drive at the fair and take test drives.
The basis is the brushless drive technology of the previous eDrive models. In order to keep the number of components, wear and tear, and maintenance costs to a minimum, there is also a serial hybrid variant. This version of the drive does not require a mechanical drive train, but an electric chain. The energy generated by the driver is sent to the rear motors via a generator. The European Commission recently decided to put bicycles with this drive technology on the same legal footing as conventional bicycles.
The Pendix eDrive IN is already being used in various model projects. For example the logistics company Postnord has added eight cargo bikes including Pendix eDrive IN to its fleet. The new serial hybrid technology is also already being tested on the Stadtaffe model from cargo bike manufacturer Vowag. Series production of the Pendix eDrive IN is scheduled to begin at the end of 2022.
Pendix Managing Director Thomas Herzog is looking forward to the reactions of the specialist audience: “Our entire team put a lot of heart and soul into the development of the Pendix eDrive IN. And I think a really innovative and future-proof drive has emerged with which we want to help drive the turnaround in traffic. In any case, the first reactions from our customers are consistently positive, and I’m looking forward to hearing what the Eurobike visitors think after they’ve done a lap.”
The Eurobike will take place from July 13th to 17th, 2022 in Frankfurt am Main. In Hall 8, where Pendix is represented at booth F19, everything revolves around “Future Mobility” over 30,000 square meters. In addition to bicycles, the focus is primarily on e-mobility, climate protection, digitization and sustainability, light electric vehicles, or cargo bikes. Topics such as microhubs, the last mile, or connections to public transport are also part of the program.
Comments Off on Keep it simple – the new Pendix eDrive IN
At the last IAA mobility, LEVA-EU member Pendix, market leader for retrofit drives in the bicycle market, presented a revolutionary drive that is to be used mainly in the B2B sector for cargo bikes. This gives Pendix an additional pillar for the retrofit drive, because the Pendix eDrive IN creates new possibilities for bicycle construction, but is installed directly by the OEMs. There are already numerous interested parties and pre-orders, although the drive has not yet been delivered. Christian Hennig was in charge of the development. We spoke to him about the drive.
The Pendix eDrive IN is available as an innovative serial hybrid variant and in combination with a chain drive, i.e. a mechanical drive train. How did the idea come about?
The market for cargo bikes is growing and growing, the bikes are also becoming more and more popular in the professional sector. We have therefore thought about how we can meet the requirements for an electric drive specifically for this application. Both privately and commercially used bikes should focus on the necessary performance in order to be able to move heavy loads safely and comfortably. Of course, reliability also plays an important role, especially if a cargo bike is to be used as a replacement for a car.
The new drive system caused quite a stir at the IAA in Munich. Why?
The serial hybrid system in particular is better suited for cargo bikes by one decisive characteristic. By using a pedal generator, all mechanical wear parts of the conventional drive train such as chains, chainrings, or sprockets are eliminated. This increases reliability and significantly reduces maintenance costs. In addition, the entire space between the wheels can be used.
How does the Pendix serial hybrid version work?
The system basically consists of a pedal generator, one or more drive motors, and a battery. The pedal generator is located on the bottom bracket, which converts the mechanical pedaling movement of the rider into electrical energy and then transmits this directly to the drive motors in the rear wheels. The generator can generate torque to give the rider a natural pedaling feel, very similar to that of a conventional bike. In addition to the driver’s performance, additional energy is supplied to the drive motors from a battery in order to ensure the necessary performance for moving a cargo bike safely and comfortably.
Where do you see potential uses for the new drive?
I see possible uses in cargo bikes where it is important to use the available space in the best possible way. In newer vehicle concepts, in particular, one often sees a very elaborately designed drive train with up to four chains connected in series in order to mechanically transmit the power from the driver to the rear wheels. This is exactly where there is a great advantage since the installation space can be used. In addition, many wearing parts of the mechanical power transmission are eliminated, which often cause unwanted downtimes of the bicycle, especially with intensively used cargo bikes.
There are already other manufacturers who also offer a serial hybrid drive. Are there any significant differences in the functions? What are the advantages of your product?
In principle, the functionality and range of functions of the various systems are quite similar. Our previous Pendix eDrive system was always developed according to the principle of “keep it simple”, and we are continuing this with this product. Generator and drive motors are based on the same engine concept and have been optimized in terms of function. Here, too, we offer a system in which the components come from a single source and are perfectly matched to each other. Functions such as gear shifting or reversing can be solved by software in the future. Of course, our proven Pendix.bike PRO app will also be used with this product in order to be able to provide the rider with useful information, customization of the riding profile and firmware updates over-the-air, and at the same time to support the service partner with diagnosis.
At the end of the day, is the vehicle actually still a pedelec?
This question can be answered with a clear yes. After years of back and forth, the European Commission decided at the beginning of 2022 that bicycles with a serial-hybrid drive system are on an equal footing with conventional pedelecs with a mechanical drive train. In order to maintain technology neutrality, it doesn’t matter whether the bike is equipped with a mechanical chain or not – as long as the drive only provides support and the rider also pedals. For us, our new drive was the next step in bicycle evolution right from the development stage. That’s why we’re happy to now also have support from Brussels.
Comments Off on Pendix outlines route going into 2022
Expansion of its international market, a merge with VSC, and a new rear engine see Pendix posed to continue building on its success through 2021.
After another record year, Pendix, the market leader for electric bicycle retrofit drives, will continue expanding in 2022. For this purpose, the cargo bike manufacturer VSC BIKE GmbH, with which the Zwickau-based company has been cooperating closely since 2021, will be fully integrated into the Pendix Group. The focus of this will be on international postal service providers and customers with company fleets.
Despite the severe restrictions in the procurement of components such as battery cells, processors, and bicycle parts, Pendix exceeded its successful 2020 performance – overall, Pendix and its current 53 employees have generated impressive sales reaching into the double-digit million range. Outside of Germany, the Netherlands was again the strongest market, with sales growth of 30 percent. The Pendix brand is also strongly represented in France. In Australia, the Zwickau-based company doubled its sales compared to the previous year.
The product highlight of the past year was above all the presentation of the rear motor Pendix eDrive IN at IAA Mobility in Munich. The drive is a B2B product for the bicycle and micromobility sector. The Pendix developers have further developed the proven central motor into a generator and created a coherent overall package. At the trade fair, Pendix presented both the individual motors and the integration for delivery bicycles with three wheels. Above all, the innovative serial hybrid version of the Pendix eDrive IN generated enthusiasm. The rear engine will be launched later this year and will be delivered to pilot customers.
Despite all the turbulence, managing director Thomas Herzog is satisfied with the past year: “2021 was a pretty mixed year for the bicycle industry. The tense delivery situation worldwide has also presented us with challenges. We have therefore decided to concentrate on production and only offer the high-demand battery variants with 300 Wh and 500 Wh. Even if the bottlenecks will be with us for a while, we are well-positioned and look to 2022 with confidence.”
Comments Off on Drive specialist Pendix is expanding its product range to include the Pendix eDrive IN rear motor
The Pendix eDrive IN comes onto the market as a standard version as well as an innovative serial hybrid version. The drive presented at the IAA mobility is a B2B product for the bicycle and micromobility sector.
The Pendix eDrive IN can be integrated into both single and multi-lane bicycles. The use of up to two motors is possible with multi-lane bicycles. This enables powerful support, even with very heavy loads.
Innovative serial hybrid variant: drive without chain
The transmission of power from the driver to the bike is becoming more and more complex in modern cargo bikes and other new types of micro-mobility vehicles: in some cases, up to four drive chains are connected in series. That is why the Pendix eDrive IN is not only offered as a variant for mechanical drive trains, such as chain or belt drives, but also as an innovative serial hybrid variant Pendix eDrive INs.
With the increasing complexity of vehicles, the number of components, wear, assembly and maintenance costs and efficiency losses usually increase, while the cost advantages decrease as a result. With the serial hybrid drive system, these disadvantages, as well as the installation space restrictions, are avoided, as the components in the drive train such as chainrings, pinions, chains, chain tensioners and, in multi-lane vehicles, the differential are eliminated.
Benefits of Pendix eDrive IN
At the crank, a generator picks up the energy generated by the rider and forwards it to the rear engine (s). The Pendix developers have further developed the proven mid-engine into a generator and thus created a reliable, powerful and coherent overall package.
But not only the serial hybrid variant is a real innovation. The Pendix eDrive IN also offers decisive advantages compared to the hub drives customary on the market up to now and their integration: Thanks to the modular drive concept, it can be integrated into different rim types. In a conventional spoked wheel, for example, the rotor does not take up the spokes directly, but is integrated via an intermediate ring that remains permanently in the rim. This enables simple, quick and service-friendly assembly and disassembly of the engine.
Like the previous Pendix eDrive, the new drive has all the smart functions. In combination with a Pendix battery and the Pendix.bike PRO app, configurations or diagnoses can be carried out. In addition, Pendix opens the system with the Pendix eDrive IN so that Pendix batteries can no longer be used exclusively. In order to meet individual customer requirements, the motors can in future also be operated with third-party batteries selected by Pendix. Even the app can be used with limited functions.
Production in Zwickau, Saxony
Manufacturers such as Santos Bikes, Muli and United Cruiser already rely on Pendix mid-motors for their e-bike lines. With the new rear engine, the company is now offering even more manufacturers an alternative to the previous systems on the market. Due to the production in the Saxon town of Zwickau as well as the cooperation with local and European suppliers, customers can rely on short delivery times and a trustful cooperation. This company policy has proven itself particularly with increased demand and material shortages due to the Corona crisis.
Thomas Herzog, Managing Director of Pendix, is pleased: “We could not have wished for a better setting than the IAA mobility for the presentation of the Pendix eDrive IN. The fair has missed out on a new concept and we are also breaking new ground with the Pendix eDrive IN. Corona presented us with some challenges, but despite all the circumstances, our well-rehearsed team has developed a high-quality and robust drive. With the rear-mounted engine, we can now offer our customers even more choice, with the usual Pendix quality.”