Tag Archive: podbike

  1. Podbike officially delivers the first FRIKAR

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    After battling engineering challenges, a global pandemic, and a shortage of computer chips, LEVA-EU member Podbike has triumphantly announced its first FRIKAR delivery.

    On February 1 2023, the very first of Podbike’s innovative FRIKAR was delivered. Podbike co-founder Per Hassel Sørensen embarked on his journey to build a better bike in 2015 after being hurt in a bike/car collision. After eight years of development, the first model is now complete.

    Despite facing many challenges throughout the production and development process, the vehicle is officially on the road. Instead of customers cancelling pre-orders over the last two years as Podbike wrestled with design and supply chain challenges, the vehicle actually received more purchase requests than could be handled. Podbike shared, “This enthusiasm sustained us because it showed there is a sizeable and committed market for green mobility. Here it is: the final product! And we are stoked!!!”

    Individuals who pre-ordered the FRIKAR will now be contacted with further details on their purchases.

  2. Podbike begins construction of final FRIKAR e-bike

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    The updated version of LEVA-EU member Podbike’s FRIKAR vehicle will incorporate all design and engineering changes from the last 12 months.

    Construction is underway at Podbike HQ in Stavanger, Norway, with the bike being slowly and deliberately built by hand. This precision allows the team to develop its compilation documentation during assembly; following this, the final model will be tested for a month. After a successful testing period, the pre-ordered models will be hand-assembled and the scalability of manufacturing will be analysed.

    When Podbike set out in 2016, it was predicted that their bikes would be commercially available some time ago. However, the COVID-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, supply chain problems, funding shortfalls, and design challenges have continually set back the release date. For this reason, the team is not yet able to commit to a final release date. Despite this, the previously confirmed roll-out plan will be followed: FRIKAR will be delivered to pre-order customers in Norway first and then to customers in Germany in 2023. The model will launch in other European countries, one at a time.

  3. Podbike tours Europe and further enhances the FRIKAR design

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    LEVA-EU member Podbike has toured the uniquely designed FRIKAR e-bike around various European trade shows, delighting audiences and making fresh engineering discoveries along the way

    ‘Podbike, meet din 79010’ – Germany’s strict safety standards

    Germany’s rules for bike design and safety are the gold standard across Europe. The Podbike FRIKAR is so unique, that it’s not completely clear which category of bike design it belongs in. Podbike has chosen to abide by Germany’s rules for cargo bikes, as the LEV can carry two people: one big, one small, or one rider and cargo in the rear.

    For example, the FRIKAR should be able to roll off a curb onto the road without any fear of damaging the bike. These simple drops from curb to road surface occur all the time on a bike, so it was necessary to test the effects of constant bumping such as this over time.

    To simulate long-term riding, Podbike has developed a power-driven test rig that allows a FRIKAR to ‘drive’ for days and days on rollers without a break. The fatigue data gathered provided interesting insights, which will assist in ensuring Podbike is first-in-class when it comes to velomobile stability and durability.

    What to do when shock absorbers are not absorbing sufficient shock?

    The biggest finding was that the front suspension wasn’t behaving as expected, being too stiff for the test rig. The suspension wasn’t absorbing enough kinetic energy, making for a bumpy ride and some complex handling. Additionally, unnecessary pressure was exerted on the bike’s chassis which would cause damage over time.

    As a result, Podbike has chosen to change the springs on the FRIKAR’s front shock absorbers. In laymen’s terms, the team has made the front suspension softer. This more supple suspension creates more give in the front end of the FRIKAR, reducing stress on the chassis, and taking a load off the front of the chassis and all the bike’s other components.

    The new springs have different diameters and steel thicknesses than the old ones. They will add a little extra weight, but not much – just a few grams.

    Why redesign the front suspension now?

    Readers may ask, why did Podbike wait until this late stage in the design process to make this change?

    The short answer is that there was not enough test data until now, despite the FRIKAR undergoing 2 years of test driving with the old suspension springs on roads in Norway.

    After some stress cracks appeared in the chassis, it was realized that reinforcement was required. Following this, it was assumed the issue would be solved, but the amped-up fatigue testing this summer on the roller rig revealed that more refinement was needed. Hence, additional suspension development!

    Development enhances the FRIKAR to the max.

    The good news is that following the installation of softer front shocks it was discovered that they extended the FRIKAR’s projected longevity by three to four years!

    A great result, but Podbike is committed to further development as to meet the German cargo bike standard.  Unfortunately, these changes to the front suspension mean the bike’s production will be delayed a little longer. However, while disappointing for some, Podbike’s dedication to quality is highlighted, ensuring only the most superior of products reach end-users.

  4. Podbike updates on manufacturing progress

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    LEVA-EU Member Podbike reports on an intensely busy time at headquarters as they focus on delivering their first run of bikes to pre-order customers.

    During some last-minute design checks, Podbike staff discovered that the rivets used on the FRIKAR’s base plate did not match the manufacturer’s claimed technical specifications. To fully ensure reliability, Podbike are undertaking additional fatigue-testing to check the rivets’ durability.

    With the testing ongoing, Podbike hope that no changes will be needed. However, if the rivets are found to be not strong enough, new base plates will be built. These are due to arrive in July.

    Podbike have reiterated that first FRIKAR deliveries will go to customers in Norway and then to customers in Germany. Starting in 2023, Podbike will launch in other countries, one at a time.

    Podbike also report on engineering tweaks to the FRIKAR’s design, which have been integrated following insightful comments during last year’s test ride tour of Norway and northern Germany.

    One issue which has challenged Podbike’s engineers is unwanted noise inside the cabin. The electric motor, plus the sound of the driver pedalling, was a bit too loud for some.

    Podbike are working to optimize the solution while also avoiding adding too much weight, and report that solving the noise issue will take time. They acknowledge that this is a common issue for every velomobile where the drivetrain and moving parts are inside the rider cabin, rather than hidden in a separate, heavy and soundproofed engine compartment.

    Finally, Podbike have shared details and a short video of their new Dynamometer Jig for dyno testing the FRIKAR.

    Those interested in contributing to the Podbike crowdfunder can register their interest here.  

  5. Podbike is crowdfunding

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    Podbike is now raising capital, and is offering followers the opportunity to join its quest.

    Podbike aims to redefine urban mobility with a 4 wheeled e-bike designed for life in the cities of tomorrow. With full weather protection and room for an adult and a child, this e-bike has been designed to be license free. It will allow a user to access bike roads to save time and money, while doing good for the environment and yourself. 

    In a statement by CTO and product developer, Per Hassel Sørensen, the company shared news of its crowdfunder:

    “I have some exciting news to share!

    We are launching a crowdfunding campaign to ignite the next stage of our journey.

    Being a feisty start-up is exhilarating, but growth requires cash. We have received funding to date, but, befitting our company’s founding principles, we also want to involve you, our grassroots supporters.

    Because YOU are the heart and soul of our brand!

    We are thankful that our concept of a human powered vehicle has been greeted so warmly by so many. Our community of customers is growing – we now have more than 32,000 like-minded people who are following us through emails, newsletters, and social media. 

    We feel fortunate to say that we now have 3,500 pre-orders!

    When I joined Podbike, I made a commitment to excel in three areas: Product, Environment, and People. I wanted to build vehicles that were functional, elegant, made to last, and have as little impact on the planet as possible.  If you would like to take part in the next stage of Podbike’s journey and invest in the company – YOUR company – please register your interest by going to our crowdfunding site below.”

    Interested investors are invited to register here.

  6. Podbike preparing for the next phase in its quest to become the leading provider of velomobiles:

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    Following an eventful 2021 with a string of successful launch events, EUR 3.2million in raised capital, and a record number of pre-orders, Podbike is transitioning from start-up to early growth phase. Kicking off 2022, the company is accelerating the transition by making changes to its management structure and by launching a recruitment campaign to further strengthen its team.

    Podbike founder Per Hassel Sørensen

    Podbike AS announced on the 6th of January that Åge Højmark has been appointed the new CEO of the company. Mr. Højmark will succeed Anne-Lise Heggland and will assume the responsibilities effective from January 1st, 2022. Mrs. Heggland founded Podbike together with Per Hassel Sørensen (CTO) in 2016 and has for the past six years held the role both as CEO and CFO.

    Mr. Højmark brings over 20 years of international experience within operations and business development and holds both an MSc in Engineering and an MBA. For the last 8 months he has served as COO in Podbike and has been instrumental in setting up the company for this next phase.

    New Podbike CEO, Åge Højmark

    Mrs. Heggland, who has planned this transition for some time, will continue in her role as CFO and is looking forward to dedicating more of her time to developing the financial planning and control required as the company grows.

    Both Mrs. Heggland and Mr. Sørensen are excited about the development of the company – “This is an important next step in the development of Podbike. We now have an experienced Board and Management in place to take the company through the next phase. This is the culmination of our effort since we started the company six years ago and will allow increased focus on delivering Podbike´s growth plan.” 

    Podbike, which is frequently referred to as the Tesla of e-bikes due to their novel and innovative approach, will start delivering their first product, the e-bike FRIKAR, in 2022. With global ambitions and over 3400 pre-orders the target is to grow its topline from zero to EUR 8 million during the next year and to scale up quickly from there.

    Mr. Højmark in a comment says – “It is an honor to be trusted with this responsibility. As for most start-ups, there have been many challenges during this first phase but so much has been done correctly. To be allowed the opportunity to further develop a company with such potential is a privilege. Podbike´s dedication and practical approach to green mobility and sustainability adds meaning to this challenge. Achieving a transition to more efficient and sustainable modes of transport are essential if we are to achieve the UN 2030 sustainability goals.”.

  7. Podbike announces Q&A Livestream focusing on the FRIKAR e-Bike – 16 December 2021

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    Podbike will host an hour long Q&A livestream this Thursday, 16 December 2021 CET 19:00-20:00. The livestream will be hosted by Founder and Technical Manager Per Hassel Sørensen and takes place on the Podbike Youtube Channel.

    Focusing on the upcoming FRIKAR e-Bike, this is the chance to get all the answers you need from the expert! Comment live or send questions to hello@podbike.com

  8. Podbike starts selling four-wheeled pedelecs in Germany with Frikar model

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    Podbike® and STORCK Bicycle partner to revolutionize micro-mobility with an innovative new e-bike, the Frikar®, a pedelec providing sleek design & full weather protection

    Stavanger, 17.10.2021 – Norway-based startup Podbike is revealing its innovative new e-bike, the Frikar (pronounced “FREE-car”) this month, a four-wheeled, fully-enclosed pedelec, suitable for everyday use. The launch will be carried out in cooperation with Germany’s premium bicycle manufacturer, STORCK Bicycle as part of a new strategic partnership between the two companies.

    The Frikar offers an innovative, environmentally-friendly means of transportation in the form of a stylish, safe, human-powered vehicle that is permitted to travel on both roads and cycle paths. It combines rider-created pedal-power with electrical assistance like any other e-bike.

    “The combination of attractiveness, comfort, safety, and sustainability has been central in Podbike´s quest to develop a personal mobility platform”, says Per Hassel Sørensen, Podbike co-founder and Chief Technology Officer. “Our ambition is to develop a personal transportation solution that offers a safe and sustainable alternative for the daily commute to work. When you consider that 60 percent of all car journeys are less than eight kilometers long, they could be easily replaced in many circumstances by the Frikar”, Hassel Sørensen adds.

    STORCK Bicycle and Podbike – a Partnership Bringing Micro-Mobility to Europe

    STORCK and Podbike are starting their cooperation agreement by jointly staging the Frikar’s global launch. The Frikar Launch Week will begin Monday October 18 at STORCK’s corporate headquarters in Idstein, Germany.

    This coming together by STORCK and Podbike will create a network of dealerships and offer Podbike customers retail locations to buy and service their Frikars. In further steps, Podbike and STORCK aim to expand the close strategic partnership in pursuit of joint synergies.

    “We are excited to announce this strategic partnership with STORCK because STORCK and Podbike both share a deep desire to innovate and to create superior products and services,” says Anne-Lise Heggland, co-founder and CEO of Podbike, and continues: “STORCK has set a high standard for bike manufacture and sales for more than 25 years. They are an important partner for us because they embody the same entrepreneurial spirit and green ambitions that we harbour.”

    Just a few weeks ago, German premium bicycle manufacturer STORCK Bicycle positioned itself in a new, digital business segment with its new joint brand Cyklær and the smart connected e-bike. Now STORCK in cooperation with Podbike is establishing itself in the market with innovative micro-mobility solutions. 

    Frikar’s Design is Dynamic, Stylish and Engineered for Rider Satisfaction

    The Frikar e-bike’s design and styling is aesthetically appealing, but also highly functional. It has roll-over protection and crush zones, while the four wheels and their suspension provide stability and enhanced rider comfort. 

    Since its home is Norway where winters are cold and harsh, the Frikar has full weather protection. It features a wraparound windshield (with optional windshield wipers) that fully encloses the rider. Yet the Frikar is so aerodynamic that it offers drag at the same coefficient level as a racing bike.

    “One of the most important objectives in the development process of the Frikar e-bike was creating a functional vehicle that was also stylish, aerodynamic, and appealing to look at from a design point of view,” says Heggland. “Our design is top of the line and a unique selling proposition when compared to similar e-bike products on the market.”

    Next Level Technology: Over the Air Updates to the Frikar’s Operating System

    Podbike engineers in Norway will continue to update Frikar’s control systems and wirelessly transmit these firmware updates to customer’s vehicles ‘over the air’ as they become available. An app is also available to monitor the Frikar’s electronic systems in real time. 

    The Frikar is classified as an e-bike, so no driver’s license or license plate is required to operate it. It can be used on both bike lanes and on the road. The vehicle is 84 centimetres wide, the same as a standard bike trailer, which makes it agile and easy to handle. 

    The Frikar has two motors that provide electrical assistance up to 25 km/h because of European regulations. Faster speeds can be achieved, but the vehicle will automatically start braking at 50 km/h, a special safety feature that prevents the Frikar from reaching unsafe speeds beyond its design capacity. 

    The Frikar’s battery range is impressive. Depending on the outside temperature, weather, gradient, and riding behavior, the Frikar e-bike’s assist-motors offer a range of 50 to 80 kilometers on a full battery charge. Spare batteries can also be carried in the vehicle. Sophisticated technology, such as a belt drive instead of a chain, reduces wear and tear, and therefore maintenance.

    “The desire for mobility is an essential part of human history,” says STORCK general manager Dr. Todor Lohwasser. “With this cooperation between Podbike and STORCK, we continue to write this history. Podbike and STORCK are united by our desire to look to the future and find creative, environmentally-friendly ways to get people from point A to point B.”

    STORCK founder Markus Storck adds: “The innovative Frikar with its sporty design takes everyday micro-mobility, especially for environmentally conscious commuters, to a whole new level. In my opinion, Frikar is one of the most innovative e-bikes in the world.” 

    Interested participants and customers who have already pre-ordered the e-bike will have an opportunity to see the Frikar for the first time at various STORCK and SENGER|NEO locations on a multi-day test ride tour of Germany and Norway in October and November, 2021. SENGER | NEO is the youngest subsidiary of the Senger Group and is already a sales partner of STORCK Bicycles.

    Advance reservations were required to book a test ride and were snapped up in September by Podbike enthusiasts within hours of their release. All 2021 test ride appointments currently planned in Germany and Norway are booked. Further Frikar test ride tours are being planned for European locations and will be communicated shortly.

    Detailed information about the Frikar e-bike can be found on the Podbike website: http://www.podbike.com/de/

    About STORCK Bicycle (www.storck-bikes.com)

    STORCK Bicycle has been a market-leading German bicycle manufacturer since its creation in 1995. The Idstein-based manufacturer of premium bikes has four flagship stores in Düsseldorf, Idstein, Munich, and Wertheim. Its bikes are also offered by numerous other dealers in Germany and abroad. STORCK bikes can also be bought through its online store: www.storck-bikes.com. Various types of bikes from the premium segment meet the highest demands for sporty riding performance and modern mobility. With prestigious mobility funding projects, STORCK has already demonstrated the company’s innovative power over the years and can look back on a long experience.

    About Podbike AS (www.podbike.com

    Podbike® is a Norwegian startup with a global perspective. It has the ambitious goal of redefining urban mobility by creating stylish, highly engineered, sustainable e-bikes that can replace cars over shorter distances. Podbike was founded in 2016 and raised more than three million Euros from investors in 2021. 

    The name of Podbike’s first product, the Frikar® (“FREE-car”) is symbolic because the Frikar offers a way for people to release themselves from quotidian tasks and the drudgery of life by hitting the road in a sleek, dynamic, comfortable, safe, and environmentally sustainable, freedom-fulfilling vehicle.

    About Senger|NEO (www.senger-neo.de)

    Senger Neo is the youngest subsidiary of the Senger Group and is dedicated to the distribution of bicycles and accessories to private and business customers. Senger Neo’s range includes not only conventional bikes, but also e-bikes, cargo bikes and innovative concepts for two-wheelers and four-wheelers. With the launch of Senger Neo the Rheine-based automotive experts are expanding their portfolio of mobility solutions. The Senger Group is one of the largest automotive trading groups in Germany. As a representative for the brands Mercedes-Benz, smart, Volkswagen, Audi, ŠKODA, SEAT / Cupra, Porsche and DAF, the family-run company has shown a growing trend for years. The Senger Group employs around 3,000 people in 50 branches at 37 locations and generates annual revenue of 1.433 billion euros.

  9. Podbike May News

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    Podbike news of May include several updates on the design of their vehicle. Progress about testing Podbikes is also covered in this episode. Later this year, the LEVA-EU Member is considering two test event tours in Norway and Germany. There is a call for pre-order customers to give Podbike feedback on the user manual and testing events. Please find out more in the posts below.

    Updates on the design of the Podbike

    For their German Version, Podbike is producing special lights which have separated  indicators.

    Based on feedback by its users, it will be possible in the future to add three large reflectors at the rear of a Podbike to make them more visible. These reflectors will be available for customers as optional.

    Another adjustment has been made to the handle for carrying a Podbike. The handle is now integrated in the design where it was previously visible at the front. Furthermore, users need to push a button that makes the handle pop up.

    Podbike is creating a user manual that allow users to assemble the Podbike themselves. Shipping the Podbike in parts does help to keep costs as low as possible. Podbike is reaching out to their customers and is looking for ideas how to make the assembly a fun experience. Get in touch with Podbike via marketing@podbike.com.

    Testing a Podbike

    Eight Podbikes are on the road for testing after a new one became ready in May. With the testing results of December, some of the parts needed to be reworked. Completing new Podbike’s ready for road testing have been slightly delayed due to all the Covid-19 measures. Only one person is working in the workshop (expected to change soon) and new parts that had been ordered, are still not delivered yet.

    Testing events

    Podbike considers test drive events in Norway and Germany if everything around Covid-19 will be solved this fall. Several plans have been laid out and they ask pre-order customers help them find good testing locations in the following cities:

    Mini-Tour-De-Norway: Bergen, Oslo, Stavanger,

    Tour-de-Germany: Berlin, Leipzig, Munich, Stuttgart, Cologne, Hannover, Hamburg

    Information about the Norway tour is expected to arrive at the end of July. This will include an invite and how to book a timeslot that will be open for registration 24 hours before the event. More information about the German tour is expect by the end of Augusts. Get in touch with Podbike via marketing@podbike.com.

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