Stefan Pierer is Chairman of the Executive Board of the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer KTM. The company was mainly as a manufacturer of all-terrain motorcycles known. In Europe, KTM the market leader in motorcycles.
TIME ONLINE: Mr. Pierer, the potential of electric mobility?
Stefan Pierer: In light vehicles and for short distances will the individual electro-mobility will prevail in the next decade. Urban mobility will take place in the future, electrically, whether on two, three or four wheels, in passenger transport or in the package logistics. The electric Bicycle is established, next, electric scooters, Mopeds and motorcycles up to the present 125-cubic centimeter-class. It is – also by us – a variety of new products with ranges up to 80 km. The enough in urban traffic.
TIME ONLINE: Why is this Segment?
Pierer:all-electric vehicles with up to twelve kilowatts (about 16 HP) of power can be technically simple with a low-voltage concepts up to 48 volts to operate. The vehicles are safe and the battery capacity is manageable. In sum, a profitable business for the manufacturer. This technological Trend is global and is largely driven by China. But all the vehicles with high-voltage concepts, from cars to motorcycles, from our point of view, financially unprofitable. The car manufacturers are forced to repudiate their drives electric, in order to comply with the statutory consumption and emission limit values for their fleets. For motorcycles, there is no law, because the procedure for years in a very strict measuring and with realistic results.
TIME ONLINE: What you say suggests that there will never be a big KTM machine with battery-electric drive.
Pierer: It is not an art, to make the product technologically on the wheels. But we assess this market segment than chance, both at the demand as well as profit. Add to this the emotions: The motorcycle is the last island of individual mobility, because all of the electronic wizards out of the car, including automated driving games on the two-Wheeler to a minor supporting role, even if they are technically possible.
TIME ONLINE: Is electric mobility a unprofitable business?
Pierer: I feel for Elon Musk, boss of Tesla, a high regard for how he creates it for over a decade, to pull people’s money out of the pockets and to burn it. This reminds me of the Internet hype around the turn of the Millennium. The bubble is known to be burst, because on the great promises no profits followed. Zero, the equivalent to the Tesla of motorcycles, making it like Musk and lives from the money of the investors. And established manufacturers can afford to battery-electric vehicles just because they can offset the losses with the profits from the cars with the combustion engine.
TIME ONLINE: Is overrated, electric mobility?
Pierer: electric mobility is currently a Hype. But as always, when the masses love something, to win at some point, the reason and the phenomenon disappears. Usually because it is superseded by another hysteria. In the field of electric mobility it takes so long until the people understand that you can’t change physical and chemical principles, even if you try very. An example: We transmit energy inefficient in long power cables and save energy as inefficient in batteries, so that in the end, only a fraction of what was originally produced. And the bit will be crowned as the Messiahs of our environment.
TIME ONLINE: when did the victory of reason?
Pierer: If we use only for short-range electric vehicles.
TIME ONLINE: How do you assess the future for E-Bikes, a business area of your company?
Pierer: Conventional bikes will be relegated to a niche product, and E-Bikes will dominate the market. I assume that in a few years, the market share in the sale of E-Bikes at about 70 percent. Today the ratio is balanced.
TIME ONLINE: While other car manufacturers racing series getting off, see Mercedes from the DTM, KTM two years ago in the MotoGP, the race for the motorcycle world championship, joined a …
Pierer: The MotoGP, the most successful Motorsport series, to be more successful than the formula 1. Because it is honest: On the motorcycle is still the one driving while in the car, a variety of wizard helps to make ends meet. In motorcycle racing you can see how the man dominates the machine, in the car, it is to not insignificant Parts of the technology.
TIME ONLINE: Starting next year, the Moto E takes place, which is – as the formula E race cars – a world championship for motorcycles with electric drive. It is interesting for you?
Pierer: Both series are completely unattractive. With the motorbike you can drive five rounds, then the machine in the Box you will need to swap the batteries. In the formula-E race cars for the same reason, need to take a break between the two halves. Because it is more exciting to play on the PlayStation car racing.