The need for a sustainable bicycle industry
Electric bikes are 20 to 50 times more environmentally friendly than electric cars with emissions of only two to five grams of CO2 per kilometre. But even when you charge your bike’s battery with green electricity, you still have CO2 emissions throughout the chain, due to bike production in countries where the electricity mix is not green yet. In addition, new e-bikes also contain many rare materials. Those who value durability should therefore choose a high-quality bike and use it for as long as possible.
However, until now, the bicycle industry has mainly focused on selling as many new bikes as possible. Large foreign suppliers of bicycle parts often make new designs that are deliberately mismatched with older versions of their parts. Furthermore, cheap electric bicycles are harder to repair and labour costs are high in our region. As a result, it is often cheaper to buy a new e-bike than to repair or refurbish an existing one. Making the cycling industry more sustainable is therefore a big challenge, something this living lab is keen to tackle. They focus on fast electric bicycles and speed pedelecs.
The living lab ‘CaDaNS’
To move towards sustainability, research centre Flanders Make and bicycle manufacturer Åska Bike are launching a living lab together with a consortium* of innovative players in the Flemish e-bike landscape. The living lab ‘CaDaNS’ is establishing an ecosystem of companies supporting the full life cycle of sustainable e-bikes and their components. The producer retains ownership of the bike and subscription packages are used, which means you pay to cycle a well-functioning and comfortable e-bike at all times. That way, the ride to and from work provides you with energy instead of costing you energy.
“To exploit the full growth potential of electric bicycles as a sustainable mobility tool, we want to get more people cycling. We focus on commuting, which in Belgium accounts for some 50 million kilometres a year, of which only 1% is done by bike. With a decent speed pedelec, such a bike ride is even feasible for people who have to commute further: you can cover an average of 30 to 40 kilometres in a comfortable and smooth way, and for the real enthusiasts there may be even more kilometres on the counter.” Frederik Petré, Project Manager of Flanders Make.
Åska Bike has already reached a pretty advanced stage in the realisation of a sustainable speed pedelec, with its production chain located as much as possible in Europe. The battery and frame are made in Flanders and there is a sustainability screening for all bicycle component suppliers. The bike is built for easy maintenance and longevity, with the possibility of upgrading it rather than replacing the two-wheeler with a better version after a few years.
The role of o2o in the living lab
As a bicycle leasing company, o2o is developing the B2B leasing model for this project, creating an important connection with Belgian companies and organisations. Thanks to the leasing formula, companies get access to high-quality bicycle fleets with e-bikes and speed pedelecs. And with the integrated online tools on the o2o platform, employers can smoothly manage the bicycle fleet in a budget-neutral context while employees continue to enjoy maximum tax benefits with smart financing.
“At o2o, we strongly believe in the highly evolving bicycle, which often emerges as the best and most sustainable solution in the modern mobility landscape, especially in commuting. Therefore, as a partner, we are happy to support this sustainable project to get as many employees as possible on their bikes. Thanks to the tax-efficient leasing model, an expensive bicycle, such as a speed pedelec, suddenly becomes more accessible to every employee.” Koen Floré, Founder & Managing Partner Operations at o2o bicycle leasing.
In order to test the concept in real-life circumstances, the project is also bringing some Antwerp companies on board, which can offer as such easy accessibility. Since employees are also increasingly looking for a healthy work-life balance and often judge their employer on sustainability. With an environmentally-friendly speed pedelec for employees, companies therefore have an extra asset in the war for talent and for retaining their talented employees.
Are you joining o2o in building a sustainable world?
Then choose bicycle leasing! Contact a Bike Lease Expert and we will be happy to draw up a personal bicycle plan, tailored to your company.
* The following partners are part of the consortium: Flanders Make, Åska Bike, Bebat, Bikebat, Groep Intro, KU Leuven, o2o Bicycle leasing, Sortbat, VITO
** CaDaNS stands for “Circulair, Datagedreven waardeNetwerk rondom Speed pedelecs” (Circular, Data-driven Value Network around Speed pedelecs)
VLAIO is the Flemish government’s point of contact for all entrepreneurs in Flanders. We stimulate and support innovation and entrepreneurship and contribute to a favourable entrepreneurial climate. We do this in cooperation with numerous partners. VLAIO is fully committed to circular entrepreneurship. That is why this VLAIO project received support and resources from the European Commission’s NextGenerationEU fund.