Panasonic Powers New Electric Assist Bicycle Lineup Poised to Transform Micro Mobility
Through its first U.S.-based eBike Partnership – with Kent International Inc. – Panasonic is launching systems on three electric-assist bicycle models in the U.S. to meet demands of growing cycling culture
LAS VEGAS (Jan. 7, 2019) – 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. First to market is the Univega USA Touring eBike, a Van Dessel Gravel eBike and a Van Dessel Mountain eBike. All models are designed and to be assembled in the U.S. These entries strategically align with the well-seeded global two-wheel mobility craze and matches the accelerating demands of electric-assist bicycles for recreation, fitness and commuting changes seen in America.
Panasonic is at the smart transportation forefront entering into the electric-assist bicycle U.S. market. As the end-to-end eMobility technology leader, Panasonic offers a diverse portfolio that spans vehicles from four-wheels to two. Panasonic provides next-generation energy solutions and new connectivity that is empowering safe, fun, comfortable and environmentally responsible micro mobility alternatives for individuals and entire communities.
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.
“Panasonic is poised to elevate the exposure and growth of eBikes, and because of that, Van Dessel is proud to bring two new performance eBike models to the market, especially given their century-long expertise in the bicycling industry and providing connectivity across multiple industries,” said Edwin Bull, president and founder of Van Dessel. “We are eager to watch our customers experience our new eBikes to support their lifestyles and technology-driven interests.”
Univega USA is a brand that combines innovation and proven technology to create a practical product for more everyday use. This is a bicycle brand with roots in Europe but now lives under the expert stewardship of Kent International Inc. launching a new brand entry, the Univega USA touring eBike. Model name UVG-1, this Univega USA Touring eBike will feature Panasonic’s X0 motor system, weighing in at 3.7kg and offering 80Nm of torque.
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. The Univega USA Touring eBike, Van Dessel Gravel eBike and Van Dessel Mountain eBike meet the rising needs consumers are converting to during the mobility transformation.
Future advances in connectivity promise new mobility opportunities for smart cities, including the integration of bike-to-infrastructure capability into traffic management systems. Panasonic, a leader in smart city initiatives, is working with U.S. cities to help determine which technology developments can best improve city services and citizen’s’ quality of life. City decision makers are looking at eBikes as a smart way to achieve environmental and mobility goals.
Panasonic has a rich history of success and passion within the bicycle industry when founder, Konosuke Matsushita designed, 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.
“Our strategic collaboration with Kent International Inc. allows us to expand our portfolio in response to the current tipping point we see in this mobility transformation, where the U.S. market is embracing the cycling culture now more than ever,” said Reid Sigety, vice president eBike business unit. “Following our success in Asia producing eBikes, we are excited to expand our portfolio drawing on the core strengths of our automotive group, and build on our vision to help electrify two-wheel mobility to meet consumers’ demands for this fun, family-friendly bicycling option.”
All three eBike models will be available for sale late spring of 2019, with pricing to be announced at a later date.
The eBike models will be on live demonstration in the Panasonic booth located in Central Hall (#12908) during CES 2019.
About Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America
Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America is a division company of Panasonic Corporation of North America and is a leading global supplier of automotive infotainment and connectivity system solutions. Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America acts as the North American affiliate of Panasonic Corp.’s Automotive & Industrial Systems Company, which coordinates global automotive and industrial systems and components operations. Panasonic Automotive is headquartered in Peachtree City, Georgia, with sales, marketing and engineering operations in Farmington Hills, Mich. For more information on Panasonic Automotive, please visit: http://us.panasonic.com/automotive.
About Panasonic Corporation of North America
Newark, NJ-based Panasonic Corporation of North America is a leading technology partner and integrator to businesses, government agencies and consumers across the region. The company is the principal North American subsidiary of Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic Corporation and leverages its strengths in Immersive Entertainment, Sustainable Energy, Integrated Supply Chains and Mobility Solutions to enable its business-to-business customers. Panasonic was highlighted in Forbes Magazine’s Global 2000 ranking as one of the Top Ten Best Regarded Companies for 2017. The ranking is based on outstanding scores for trustworthiness, honesty with the public and superior performance of products and solutions. Learn more about Panasonic’s ideas and innovations at Panasonic.com.