Electric Bikes by Luxury Car Brands
Luxury car brands are beginning to establish themselves in the electric vehicle market as the future of car manufacturing turns to renewable energy.
- Audi – fully electric by 2025
- Mercedes Benz – 50% electric/hybrid by 2025
- BMW – fully electric/hybrid by 2030
- Porsche – 50% electric/hybrid by 2025
An exciting result of the switch to electricity is car manufacturers’ investment in electric bikes.
With their manufacturing experience and investment in lithium-ion battery technology, luxury car brands are helping to drive the e-bike market forward through innovation and popularization. The companies mentioned in this article have promised to be either 50% or fully electric in the coming years to compete with Tesla for a share of the growing EV market.
Porsche Sport & Cross
In co-operation with ROTWILD
MSRP: from $8,550
In collaboration with German bicycle brand ROTWILD, the luxury car brand revealed two premium, full-suspension eMTBs alongside their new Taycan electric vehicle.
As expected, these Porsche electric bikes match high-quality with inflated prices typical of their vehicles.
Both bikes come on hand-manufactured carbon fiber ROTWILD frames. The modular frame design ensures they are perfectly adapted to heavy impacts, and carefully selected carbon fibers give these bikes excellent stiffness properties.
For electronics, each model has an industry-leading 85Nm/250W Shimano EP8 mid-drive motor combined with Shimano’s 504Wh (Cross) or 630Wh (Sport) battery.
The expected range for the Sport is 46-76 miles and 31-62 miles for the Cross. Get the most out of the battery by using the premium Shimano XT 12-speed or electronic Di2 11-speed drivetrains.
An impressive achievement is their weight. The Cross weighs just 48.7lbs while the Sport weighs 48lbs which is very low for full-suspension e-bikes.
Porsche designed these bikes primarily for urban environments or light trails, despite being full-suspension e-bikes. Notably, a unique Maguro Boltron inverted fork offers improved stroke sensitivity and reduces maintenance needs thanks to the constantly lubricated fork sliders.
Finally, it’s worth noting the fast-rolling Continental 2.3″ tires, which are perfect for urban riding but sub-optimal for trail riding.
27.5″ wheels – size S frames
29″ wheels – size M, L frames
Porsche eBike Sport
- Carbon frame
- 250W Shimano EP8 – 85Nm torque – 15.5mp/h top speed.
- 100mm Magura USD forks, FOX shock absorber.
- 504 – 630Wh battery (1,000 charging cycles).
Charge time: 5h
- 11-speed Shimano Di2 derailleur.
Porsche eBike Cross
- Carbon frame
- Shimano STEPS EP-8 250W mid-drive motor.
- 100mm travel Magura USD (upside down) forks, FOX rear suspension.
- 12-speed Shimano XT.
BMW Urban Hybrid E-Bike
A drastic change from the Porsche e-bikes, The Urban Hybrid BMW electric bike is a straightforward e-bike with an affordable price tag.
Sporting a sleek look typical of BMW cars, the Urban Hybrid is relatively lightweight at just over 40lbs. In addition, the bike’s battery is seamlessly integrated into the aluminum frame.
The battery has 300Wh of juice which lasts between 20 to 30 miles, and charges rapidly so you can get back out on the road quickly. Additionally, riders can remove the battery for charging if necessary.
- Hub motor (250W)
- Li-ion battery (300Wh)
- Hydraulic disc brakes w/ 180mm rotors
- 28″ wheels
- BMW also has an Active Hybrid E-Bike with a Step-thru frame
For power, there is a 250W rear hub motor. Unfortunately, BMW does not offer further details on the motor, unlike their Active Hybrid, which has a Brose motor.
An unusual feature of this bike is the 28″ wheels, a size rarely seen. One issue with these wheels is they will be more difficult to replace as the size is uncommon.
The tires chosen by BMW are narrow Continental Contacts perfect for fast city riding.
Finally, this bike has Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, which provide plenty of stopping power for city riding, considering the assisted max speed is only 15.5mph (due to European e-bike speed limits).
Mercedes Benz EQ Formula
MSRP from $2,000
The EQ Formula n+ Mercedes-Benz eBike series includes three lightweight, sleek, and stealthy electric bikes.
n+ is a European engineering company that works exclusively with the Mercedes-Benz brand to deliver luxury urban eBikes.
We are most impressed by the stylishly integrated electronics on each bike. These include 252Wh Panasonic cell batteries and smooth 250W Bafang mid-drive motors (with varying torque).
- 6061 aluminum frame
- Single-speed / Enviolo internal gearing
- Gates CDX carbon belt-drive
- 250W hub motor (45 – 75Nm)
- 700c x 35mm tires
- Single/Dual 36V 7Ah battery (252Wh)
Charge time: 3.5h
- Range 28/37/62 miles
The two higher-priced bikes are very similar in terms of components and design, with the main differences being the dual battery and extra torque in the high-end Silver Arrow version. In addition, the Silver Arrow has a hand-brushed aluminum finish.
The Gates CDX carbon belt drive system in this series virtually eliminates the need for maintenance, making your urban riding cleaner, silent, and doesn’t lose efficiency over time. Pair this with a simple single-speed setup or the Enviolo internally geared hub, and you have a system that easily lasts up to 18,000 miles.
The cheaper City Racer model is a step-through single-speed bicycle that reminds us a lot of ride1UP’s Roadster v2. This e-bike has a lower torque (45Nm) motor and a lower max range (28 miles), and no kickstand, but performs perfectly well as an urban e-bike.
Although the bike is very well designed, the Mercedes-Benz branding means a significantly higher price than the competition (which ranges from $1000 to $1800).
Finally, high-quality Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, fast 35mm Kenda tires with puncture resistance, and a lightweight chassis mean these bikes handle well and perform great on any urban ride but aren’t equipped for much more than that.
Audi – Wörthersee
The luxury vehicle manufacturer Audi has released a design concept for a new e-MTB built with cutting-edge technology, materials, and manufacturing processes.
Their limited-release (100 units) e-Tron XC full suspension e-mountain bike in 2016 was designed in partnership with German e-MTB brand Haibike and cost an eye-watering $16,000 at the time, limiting its appeal to a very select crowd.
- Carbon frame (Weight: 24lbs)
- 26″ wheels (each wheel weighs 1.32lbs)
- 48V 2.3kw motor (2,300W)
- Estimated range – 44mi (70km)
- 230V battery
Charge time – 2.5h
The new Audi electric bike “Wörthersee” will likely be of similar caliber and price. However, the brand is aiming for an ultra-lightweight design (24lbs without the electronics) thanks to the carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) frame and an unusual choice of 26″ wheels.
The Wörthersee will be closer to a motorbike than any electric bike we’ve seen. It will have an astonishing 2,300W motor with a 50mph max speed (in ‘pedelec mode’) and a range of 43 miles thanks to a large, rapid-charging 230V removable battery.
Although this is an exciting follow-up from the previous bike release by the luxury car brand, we are disappointed that Audi doesn’t have any serious short-term plans to deliver an e-bike that is accessible to the general public.
Tesla Model B eBike
Still a concept
One of the most controversial, exciting, yet distant concepts in the EV industry is the Tesla Model B. As there are no pedals in the design, this product will be a moped or scooter, not an e-bike.
The USA-based brand run by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk is renowned for its innovation in electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries, and self-driving technology.
Their e-bike concept should benefit from the world’s best battery technology and the most advanced vehicle security features to create a unique product.
- Each wheel has a motor with integrated suspension
- Shock absorbers
- Rigid handlebar with steering sensors
- Large dashboard with integrated live maps, GPS, speed/odometer
The attempt to rethink steering and introduce autopilot seems interesting but very impractical. Furthermore, using handlebars with pressure sensor-activated steering would mean learning a completely different skill and would severely limit the appeal.
Additionally, the introduction of autopilot could be a recipe for disaster, any unexpected change in direction would almost certainly lead to a loss of balance and the rider falling off.
The one benefit of the touted Lidar technology would be its use on a fully-integrated top-tube cockpit. This system could alert riders to potential crash risks in their periphery while the cockpit computer provides turn-by-turn directions and ride metrics as premium bike computers do.
The final technological change would be the shock-absorber wheels with integrated motors. The all-wheel-drive motor technology already exists on bikes like the Ariel Rider D-Class. Although the wheel suspension sounds interesting, it seems very difficult to execute and may not offer any performance gains.
*No Direct Website to Tesla eBikes
Read next – Most Expensive Electric Bikes