Our CEO, Pietro Perlo, about the presentation of new e-bikes prototypes in Malta
Following a presentation I made in Torino, Dr. Reuben Buttigieg, chairman of Erremme, convinced me to also consider Malta as a location to manufacture clean, safe and affordable vehicles. Stimulated by Dr. Kurt Farrugia CEO of Malta Enterprise, to transform the idea into a concrete initiative, we set up a new company MEM “Malta Electromobility Manufacturing LTD”.
MEM is now financed by a European project “Fluently” started June 1st addressing the development of human-robot interactions. Supported by Malta Enterprise, MEM is also looking to set up a laboratory to train people towards advanced concepts of Industry 4.0 manufacturing. The idea is to prepare next generation of employees for future manufacturing facilities. We think that the training center we intend to set up together with COMAU, amongst the world largest companies making automated assembly lines, will have a high social impact.
We started MEM focusing on electromobility, convinced it would become mainstream in the near future. We address urban mobility and are strongly motivated to develop best-in-class cars and bikes with a focus on safety, ergonomics, efficiency, interactivity, sustainability and affordability.
MEM shares technologies, partnerships, and intellectual properties with I-FEVS, that is, one of MEM key strengths is the collaboration with around 150 R&D organizations, including CLN Group | MA and ArcelorMittal to develop high-strength materials, COMAU for advanced manufacturing, STMicroelectronics on machine learning boards. This enables MEM to cover the complex multidisciplinary facets of the mobility sector. All these companies will support MEM in the road show we will have next June 30th – July 1st. E-bikes are the ideal and much more sustainable alternative to cars for many travels, and to make then easy to buy-rent we set up an agreement with the GAZAN group who will host the road show in his show room.
Today in Italy, like in many other EU countries including Malta, we have about 650 cars every 1000 people and by 2030 that ratio is very likely to be the same for e-bikes as well. This is reflected by the common forecast of CONEBI “Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry”, ECF “European Cycling Confederation” and CIE “Cycling Industry Europe” foreseen the sales of 17 million e-bikes by 2030. That is, a more than 200B€ market by 2030 in Europe only.
We forecast that by 2030 on the Maltese roads there will be some 250,000 e bikes. The volumes justify manufacturing on site. We have then designed e-bikes particularly suited for Malta characterized by hilly and narrow roads. The idea is starting a Maltese manufacturing hub also serving other close markets (Crete, Cyprus…). We are addressing a step-by-step verticalization of manufacturing aiming at reducing the many criticalities of the current supply chain. That is, producing local as much as possible to reduce the pains related to the purchase of parts.
Safety as a critical factor holding people back from fully embracing bikes and e-bikes. An online study by YouGov found that almost half (43%) of people across all age groups and genders living in cities said that a safer option would encourage them to cycle more. Safety is the mantra of the bike industry and with this in mind, MEM is proposing new type of e-bikes with safety top of mind.
At first glance, MEM e-bike looks different to other models on the market. For one, it has three wheels – one at the front and two at the rear, set 20 centimeters apart. This unique, patented design helps to make the e-bike more stable, easier to turn, safer in wet roads, furthermore, it reduces the risk of riders becoming unbalanced.
The two independent rear-wheels have a novel suspension system to ensure a comfortable ride. We designed our bike to be as safe as possible while delivering the performance of a cargo bike. It’s for everyone to enjoy and feel confident riding – young and old. People, that never ride a bike before, after first minute’s feel like athletes ready to perform Gimkana.
Modular by design, MEM e-bikes serve multiple uses, including commuting, urban delivery and day-to-day family travel. Solar panels encase the e-bike’s high strength nanostructured steel square-tubed frame, charging the onboard electric motor as the rider drives.
The high efficiency thin film photovoltaics perform active balancing of the battery pack. It’s another feature we’ve patented. We’re also implementing a level of interactivity that is not available today by putting onboard a network of machine learning boards that transform the bike into an intelligent device.
In summary, MEM is addressing manufacturing of novel e-bikes in Malta supported by leading companies of the sector and is introducing a simple business model in collaboration with the GasanZammit Motors Limited to facilitate the large uptake of e-bikes in the country. Aiming at taking some 20-25% of the local e-bikes market we plan to employ about 80 to 90 people in the period 2023-2025.
The focus is on e-bikes but the building and the manufacturing lines where MEM is aiming at starting the production of e-bikes have been conceived to be updated to also manufacture MEM’s unique solar assisted cars.