Micromobility is still a rather uncommon expression. ZF, the major shareholder of the joint venture, explains what it is: “Micromobility is, from our perspective, any transport below the automobile level – may it have two, three or four wheels,” a company spokesperson said. The upper limit of the market in terms of vehicles size will be the L7e class according to the definition of the European Community. By this definition, L7e is a four-wheel vehicle with a maximum empty weight of 400 kilograms and powered by a motor of up to 15 kW. The lower limit of the market served by the new enterprise will be the (e)-bike and perhaps smaller transport vehicles.
While ZF is a large international group, best known in the automotive sector for its mechatronic products like components for brake, undercarriage, transmissions and steering systems, the other companies in the group are not so known in the international industry. Magura and BrakeForceOne are said to be experts in two-wheel technology and related services; Unicorn Energy is focusing on battery technology. “Our core competencies lie in development and standardization of battery systems, with focus on infrastructure, energy management and communications,” explained Unicorn Energy CEO Michael Preiss.
ZF regards micromobility as a high-potential future market. This holds true for the transport of persons as well as for goods – potential market segments could be “land-based drones” – small automated vehicles that transport goods over the “last mile”, the distance from the delivery vehicle to the receiver.
The JV will develop, manufacture, and sell products for the growing market of electromobility. First product presentations can be expected by late summer, the spokesperson explained. Further details of the deal remain confidential. The spokesperson however wanted to highlight one aspect: “We do not intend to market complete vehicles on our own. We are and will remain component supplier to the vehicle industry.”