Consolidation in the electric bicycle industry? Accell buys Currie -- Hero Eco buys Ultra Motor
Two recent bits of news over the last week or so.
First, Accell Group buys Currie Technologies. Accell is a large bicycle maker in Europe with a half dozen brands. Currie of course is one of the venerable electric bicycle companies, and has gone through several owners over the years.
Yesterday, Hero Eco announced they were buying Ultra Motor. Hero is a vehicle manufacturer in India. Having visited India several times I know Hero best for TV advertisements for the Honda Hero motorcycle line, where Honda Hero is a collaboration with Honda to manufacture motorcycles. Hero Eco is a subsidiary holding company that oversees several companies handling electric vehicles. Ultra Motor is a UK based electric bicycle manufacturer, their bikes are real nice and sturdy, and are distributed around the world.
Both of these are instances of a large manufacturer buying up a small electric bicycle company. Me wonders what this means.
Two possibilities come to mind:
The positive one: The biggies are getting nervous and realize they need more know-how and production capacities in electric vehicles than they can muster themselves, so they buy into this know-how in order get into the elctric market quicker and with more momentum.
The negative one: The biggies are getting nervous and decide it is time to smother the electrics. I assume that would be Plugin America's take ;-)
However, times are a changin', so I assume the truth to be more towards the positive interpretation. Let's hope so...
Obviously this isn't directly applicable, but something similar has been happening in the natural foods industry. The smaller company gets wider marketing and distribution, but sometimes the quality suffers. When White Wave, the well-respected maker of Silk soymilk, was bought out by an agri-conglomerate, the company's founder promised only good things. A year or so later he took a big 'Golden Parachute' and the company started using Chinese "organic" soybeans. There was a huge backlash, and they now supposedly use North American soybeans again. I think the biggest factor is the attitude of the company doing the acquiring, because in the end they get final say over policy.
I hope they keep making the A2B.
Wonder if the small e-scooter companies will be next.
Has anyone been able to contact Ultra Motors lately? I'm a dealer in North Carolina and all me email contacts are coming back as no longer valid. I went to the Web Site, but the only contact info I could find was and address in Berkely, CA.
Have had no problem contacting Nate and Kyle at Ultramotor USA. Just ordered 4 bikes as we sold 5 this week, our best sales week ever. Contact me off list at email@example.com if you'd like.
JTH/Amp Brothers Electric Bikes, Inc.