Bicycles are not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’. Commuting in Canadian towns and cities can be hazardous at any time, more so in inclement weather, especially in the winter.
Electrically assisted bikes make the trip to and from work easier. More and more e-bikes are plying the streets, leaving the rider the opportunity for exercise while saving the battery.
Before the industrial revolution, people worked in a shop at home or in the fields. As industries sprouted, workers went to the workplace, and as our knowledge and complexity increased, people went to the office: they had to commute.
The experience of European immigrants to North America reflects what we now learn about China and India: Commuters first want to reduce the time it takes to get to work and back home; Later on they want weather protection and comfort.
The automobile is the most comfortable means of commuting, but we know the predicament this has caused during the last generation.
That process is now reversing: we are searching for, and developing, alternative transportation.
Motorcycles were mostly a hobby in the western world for the last several decades; that market became saturated and sales diminished. Motorbike makers moved their production to developing countries where commuters moved up from bicycles, wanted weather protection …. and the cycle repeats itself: Scooters now protect commuters from rain, sleet, snow, and cold.
Pollution is now causing problems in developing countries as well, giving us ‘fuel for thought’.
During the last century in Europe, DKW and NSU were the largest motorbike manufacturers. British and Italian motorcycles were famous and fast. After World War II, Italian designers created stylish scooters, and that same sequence swept Europe.
DKW morphed into Audi, Audi bought NSU, and two-wheel commuter vehicles had two more wheels added. By now, we know the cycle of events.
Audi, now part of the Volkswagen Group of companies, first started building cars in China in 1984. Audi recently bought the Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati.
After that report, would it surprise anyone if that combination of companies would produce electric motorbikes –and later ItalDesign-created scooters- in China and India?
Making the rounds in the automotive press are sketches and concept models of an Audi/DKW electric motorbike from a young trio, that might resurrect the famous makes of the past –history repeating itself again.
From carbodydesign.com: Thibault Devauze is a 28-year old French car designer. He studied for five years at ISD Valenciennes where he graduated with distinction in October 2010.
Among his experiences are 1-year at Opel as exterior designer and internships at Ducati, Land Rover and Audi.
Since January 2012 he’s been working in Turin with Lowie Vermeersch at Gran Studio.
Speaking about the development process, Thibault explains: “My brother and I have both worked in interior design at Audi in Ingolstadt. During the Audi museum visit we were surprised to see so many bike in the heritage of the brand with the four rings.
“Few months later, when I worked at Opel as an exterior designer I had the idea to do a project bike for Audi.”
“The idea was pretty simple: the first competitor of AUDI is BMW, and BMW sell bikes.
In the past Audi has a massive heritage in terms of bike with the DKW brand. Audi is always looking for new markets, [the] bike market represent a good opportunity.”
” […] my friend Clement Couvreur is a digital modeler and he was also working at Opel. We started this project during our free time at the end of 2011.
“In the summer 2012 we were joined by my brother Marc who finished the bike.”