Panasonic, the world’s leading automotive battery supplier, and Kent International Inc., North America’s leading bicycle manufacturer, announce the entry of new electric-assist bicycles into the eBike segment. To meet the changing micro mobility lifestyle trends, Panasonic is partnering on the launch of electric bicycles under two brands with three models. Under the Kent International Inc. family of companies, the Univega USA brand and the Van Dessel brand, will both be powered by Panasonic batteries and motors.
Van Dessel is a national-championship winning line of bicycles, sought after by enthusiasts, pro racers and Olympians. As a performance focused bicycle brand, it lives and breathes the fine details. The Van Dessel Mountain eBike, strategically named Captain Shred, and the Van Dessel Gravel eBike, Passepartout, have been engineered and designed from the ground up around the new Panasonic GX0 motor. The new GX0 motor system has an innovative design that makes its 2.95kg weight and 90Nm of torque an industry leading weight-to-power advantage. The Van Dessel Mountain eBike with the new Panasonic GX0 motor will race in the UCI sanctioned first-ever eMountain bike world championship series.
Current market trends in North America show an increased consumer demand for eBikes, which are predicted to transform future urban micro mobility. Just like a bicycle, but equipped with a motor, batteries and a control system, this emerging mobility option is also ideal for commuting and everyday travel. An eBike can be operated strictly on battery power or by pedal power. This lets riders travel farther, faster, carry heavier loads and conquer hills with less effort, making it ideal for commuters and cyclists of all fitness levels.
The fastest-growing bicycle type in the market right now is electric, and sales of eBikes have grown more than eightfold since 2014, according to a recent Deloitte study. In 2017 the U.S. eBike market grew 25% from the previous year, in fact Americans bought as many eBikes as they did electric cars.
Panasonic has a rich history of success and passion within the bicycle industry when founder, Konosuke Matsushitadesigned, manufactured and sold bicycle headlights in the early days of company establishment. Panasonic is the number one eBike drive system manufacturer in Japan controlling more than 40% market share, and is one of the early players in Europe. The collaboration with Kent International Inc., a century old company, continues to reinvent their business and is now ready to embrace a growing cycling culture that is ready to be electrified and connected, and meet the growing needs of the U.S. market.
All three eBike models will be available for sale late spring of 2019, with pricing to be announced at a later date.