Slovak Velo provides a new solution for manufacturing e-bikes in Europe

By: Arnauld Hackmann

Now the anti-dumping duties on Chinese e-bikes have become reality, e-bike providers have been looking for alternatives in Europe, for example. Slovak Velo can be of a helping hand to those by offering a package that completely unburdens its customers.

The man behind Slovak Velo

Ravi Hingorani is well experienced in the international cycling industry. He travels regularly between the Netherlands and Taiwan, and lately he’s been seen in Slovakia. This is no coincidence, because together with his Taiwanese partner Thomas Lee he founded Slovak Velo. This company cleverly responds to the growing production needs of e-bikes now that many entrepreneurs are looking for alternative locations for Chinese e-bike manufacturers. Hingorani offers this alternative. In fact, this is a joint-venture between WJ Bikes in Taiwan and DEMA, the factory located in Slovakia. According to Hingorani ‘’the nice thing about this factory is that it has all the licenses to import parts, also e-bike components, on which the duties don’t apply. We can import every component legally, for low prices, which we can assemble in Slovakia.’’

Soft Launch

Slovak Velo’s service package is quite broad: from the production of their own brand to full service for others, including frame design and system engineering (motor and battery). Hingorani states that ‘’we can also do the complete product development. Actually, when a retailer or a chain want to launch an own e-bike brand, we can deliver the complete process. But a company that wants to take a part of the supply chain for their own account is also welcome.’’

During Taipei Cycle 2018 the soft launch took place and according to Hingorani there was a lot of interest. ‘’Nobody wanted to move their production to Europe. That was not only because the financial story, but also because a lack of motivation from the employees. With anti-dumping duties in place, companies have to look for alternatives. Fortunately, they don’t have to invent the wheel again, we do that for them.’’

Unburdening  

The Slovakian factory currently has a capacity of 20.000 bicycles, but Hingorani predicts that this will double in 2019. Slovak has a strategic collaboration with Tongshen e-bike motors and WorldPower batteries. Hingorani states that ‘’Tongshen plans to produce motors in Europe. Apart from our strategic collaboration with Tongshen, we are obviously open to for instance Shimano or Bafang. Our tagline is your bike, our business. With that, we can completely unburden our customers, even up to buying components. Our customer only needs to worry about sales, we take care of the whole process. Those who are unfamiliar with the cycling industry are welcome. In Europe, many bicycle factories are being built, but those are not running like they should. Our factory has been operational for over ten years, the others still need to earn their stripes. We offer a solution for importers and small manufacturers. You could see it as a leveling of the international arena. Small factories couldn’t compete with giants like Accell or Pon, but now this is evened out.’’

Ravi Hingorani is accessible thru ravi@wjbikes.com.tw