Of course, as markets mature, one can make excellent enduring profits as a niche player, not just as volume leader such as those Chinese e-bikes and scooters on display at very affordable prices of around Euros 1000 upwards but are those cheaper batteries safe?. Pedelec bikes are called hybrids these days.
The superbly designed Vectrix pure electric scooters and their derivatives were well presented, manufacture being in Poland nowadays.
The Europeans are doing a great deal in the niche markets and it is stimulating to hear how over 1000 European-made pure electric mini trucks have recently been ordered by postal services in three European countries. The Italian Tazzari range of small specialist pure electric vehicles was much in evidence.
The Comarth pure electric mini truck from Spain has big orders, we were told.
The Simple City niche pure EVs on display are also making waves. From Segway in the USA, the putative volume player that was forced to end up as a niche player, there was an industrial sized version at an eye-watering Euros 8439.
In general, there is much evidence at this show that lithium-ion batteries are replacing lead acid and that European components for electric vehicles are world-beaters. Europe is behind in batteries and supercapacitors but well ahead in range extenders and electric motors for instance. In batteries, the Bosch speaker at the FEBIAC conference attached to the event said that its joint venture SB Limotive with giant Samsung will not have to compete with Samsung on global markets. That is very significant, because Samsung is the elephant in the room in traction batteries with huge research and intellectual property but no real sales as yet. Here is a believable contender for one of the three or four global leaders that the market can support as about 100 suppliers are blasted out of the market in the forthcoming shakeout. As we detail in our reports on traction batteries, investment of two billion dollars is needed to have a chance of success in creating a ten billion dollar electric vehicle traction battery business with enduring satisfactory profits. Most of the participants are kamikaze romantics thinking - Harry Potter style - that their magic recipe will protect them.
For more attend Electric Vehicles Land Sea Air USA 2012 ,where Phoenix International - A John Deere Company (leader in agricultural vehicles), BMW (cars etc), Mitsubishi Motors (small commercial vehicles and cars), Daimler AG (commercial and military vehicles and cars) and Toyota (leader in electric forklifts, cars, buses) will present. Uniquely, a large number of electric vehicle manufacturers not seen in conventional EV events will present including WheelTug airliner electrification on the ground, Pipistrel manned electric aircraft, University of Michigan unmanned solar aircraft, SolTrac electric farm tractors, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute Autonomous Underwater Vehicles AUVs. Many manufacturers of industrial, commercial, military, e-bike, cars and other EVs will be there. At last you can meet those responsible for the majority of the hybrid and pure electric vehicle market and they all need components!! Most are prosperous growing businesses not reliant on government support that can be withdrawn at any time.