Car Freak Aiming to Replace Short Car and Van Trips
I, Johan, the CEO of Velove Bikes AB, am passionate about cars in general and Formula 1 racing in particular. I also realise that the car habits of the western world and growing economies are seriously threatening the planet. This personal contradiction led to the development of the Armadillo cargo cycle.
Going Electric is Just Not Enough
When working as an IT and management consultant, I was very interested in alternative car technology and bought myself a Toyota Prius hybrid car, at the time the most hyped “green” car.
After switching profession to being part of a an energy and environment research team, I learned that the massive and increasing use of cars is nowhere near sustainable. Going electric, switching to hydrogen or introducing self driving cars is not enough by far, the resource and energy use of the car is just too high. At least 90 % reduction in energy and resource use from mobility in rich countries is needed. Also, we need to do that massive shift really quick to keep risks of nasty stuff happening low.
Cargo Bike and Velomobile Research Begins
So, I understood that the car couldn’t be a solution in itself. The way to think about mobility and availability needs to change. I bought a Nihola cargo bike, sold the Prius, started travelling by public transport and trains and started shopping more online. I did extensive research into the world of cargo bikes and velomobiles. And finally, in 2011, I decided to combine my passion for cars and knowledge about the limitations of the car by developing a new type of bike. Cargo bikes and velomobiles are both great, but maybe the sum could be even greater? An intense, open online discussion and an open workshop laid the theoretical foundation for the first prototypes.
The First Armadillos
The first two Armadillo prototypes were built by my dad Börje (a car freak too), in his garage, with very encouraging results. We knew we were really on to something with a narrow, high stability, four wheel cargo bike with a comfy seat instead of a saddle. The semi-trailer was prototyped already at prototype 1 stage. Linda and Dennis joined Velove with their product development and mass production experience from Better Shelter. We found some financing together and could hire the highly skilled dutch bike engineers Flevobike for the third prototype in 2014. The result spoke for itself, and since then Flevobike is an appreciated engineering partner of Velove.
Developed in Real World Conditions
We have developed the Armadillo by using it in real world operations, listening carefully to what customers say and doing the development in as many iterations as needed. When we now put the bike into production there have been five earlier version of the Armadillo: Prototype 1-3, early pre-series and late pre-series. From long bike adventures, Gothenburg-Copenhagen (350 km), Gothenburg-Stockholm (600 km) and along the Rhine (500 km) and the hard testing from logistics operators Pling and DHL, we have received valuable input that has strongly affected the development. It has led to the capable, agile and comfortable human powered vehicle we are now excited to see putting smiles on peoples faces as they are replacing cars and vans!
Welcome to Gothenburg, Sweden!
Hope to see you soon in Gothenburg or on an exhibition somewhere! We think you should test ride the Armadillo.
Johan, Linda and Dennis