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Bosch opens office for e-bike division in California

Published January 9, 2015
Bosch's U.S. office for its e-bike division in Irvine, California

IRVINE, Calif. (BRAIN) — Bosch officially opened the U.S. headquarters for its e-bike business division Thursday afternoon, inviting media and representatives from its bike brand partners, including Felt, BH, Lapierre and Haibike, to the unveiling of the new space here.

After considering different cities and states, the company settled on Southern California—and Irvine—because of the high concentration of industry companies and business in the area. The new headquarters had been several months in the making.

Heading up the new office is Claudia Wasko, a Bosch veteran who relocated last year from Stuttgart, Germany, and was tasked with setting up operations. The office has a staff of five, including Brian Cleveland who will lead dealer training for California, and Wasko said she plans to add a couple more in February.

“The focus here will be on sales, customer service, marketing and some dealer clinics and training together with Magura,” she said. “We’re also supporting local advocacy efforts, and Bosch will be part of the BPSA e-bike committee to work with the industry on the regulatory environment for e-bikes.”

Germany's The Bosch Group launched its e-bike unit as a startup in 2009, and debuted its pedal-assist, mid-motor drive on bikes at the Eurobike trade show in 2010. In Europe, Bosch is spec’d on more than 70 bike brands and commands a leading market share. The company says the market for e-bikes across Europe exceeds 1 million units per year. Japan is the second-largest market for pedal-assist e-bikes and the U.S. is just a fraction of these two markets combined. 

Last summer, Felt and Haibike began selling models spec’d with the Bosch mid-motor drive in the U.S., and Wasko said several other bike brands will begin offering Bosch-equipped e-bikes stateside including Cannondale, and European brands KTM and Cube. Lapierre, BH and cargo-bike supplier Xtracycle also are offering Bosch-powered bikes. For 2015, Bosch will be available on a variety of bikes, from urban/commuter to mountain, fat-tired and cargo bikes.  

“That’s one reason for expanding our capabilities here,” Wasko said. “2014 was a year of building and educating,” she noted about the U.S. market.

Bosch’s e-bike division exhibited for the first time at the Interbike trade show last fall, and made its consumer debut at the Sea Otter Classic last spring. It also set up dealer training and support, partnering with Magura, which is managing the supply of spare parts, product warranties and dealer clinics.

Wasko said dealer training and service will begin in Canada earlier than anticipated, in April.

Electric bikes are a “startup industry at an inflection point,” Tim Frasier, Bosch’s president of mobility electronics for North America, told attendees at the opening. Bosch’s new U.S. office is part of its plan to grow its e-bike business in North America.

 

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