Johan, the CEO of Velove Bikes AB, was, and still is, passionate about vehicle tech in general and Formula 1 racing in particular. But he also learned that the energy and resource intensive car habits of the industrialised world are seriously threatening the planet.
He did extensive research into the world of ultra efficient cargo bikes and velomobiles. And finally, in 2011, he decided to combine his passion for cars and knowledge about the limitations of the car by developing a new type of bike, at that point of time aimed for private use.
An intense, open online discussion and an open workshop laid the theoretical foundation for the first prototypes. Linda and Dennis joined the project with their product development and mass production experience from Better Shelter.
The first two Armadillo prototypes were built by Johans 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, and we realised that this bike would also make a very attractive city logistics vehicle.
We found some financing together and could hire the world class dutch bike engineers Flevobike for the third prototype in 2014.
The result spoke for itself, with DHL Express moving in as an early adopter and contributing to setting the requirements for the first version of the City Container. In 2016, we partnered with experienced Czech special bike manufacturing partner Katanga.
We have developed the Armadillo and the City container by testing the products 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 Armadillo into production there have been five earlier versions of it: Prototype 1-3, early pre-series and late pre-series.
The City Container has also had three prototypes before the current design. 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, DHL, DB Schenker and Hermes, 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 vans.
We are happy to announce a new member of our Velove family: Dries Willems. Dries will represent Velove in the Netherlands and Belgium, helping our dutch and french speaking customers. With a background as a sustainable fleet specialist, Dries will support our costumers to get their Armadillos on the road.
Gregor Honsel commented on the development on the German bike lanes, expressing concern that it will get crowded and pushed for better infrastructure for ultralight vehicles. We would like to elaborate a bit further on the topic by having a look at the development in other countries and also explain the measures we have taken to minimize the negative impact on other cyclists.