Veloci, this Loiret company which bets on the electric bike… without battery

Malgré sa technique d’assistance unique au monde, le vélo électrique loirétain devrait rapidement voir apparaître l’arrivée de concurrents sur ce nouveau créneau.

Veloci industries will launch by the end of the year the production of 1,000 copies of its model of bicycle equipped with a super capacitor Pi-Pop, after a test phase which took place over several months.

Several dozen customer ambassadors have thus experienced the machine by providing us with their observations.explains Adrien Lelièvre, president of the group based in Olivet, in the Orleans area. This collaborative method has enabled Veloci industries to make many improvements to the basic Pi-Pop model. “.

Originality compared to classic electrically assisted bicycles (VAE), the machine works without a battery, thanks to a super-capacitor. This innovative technology, adapted to the bike by the company’s engineers, reuses the energy produced by the cyclist to help propel the machine when needed. The Loiretain manufacturer lists at least three advantages in this context. First of all, the Pi-Pop does not carry any rare metal, such as lithium, unlike the VAE sold on the market. It thus eliminates both supply and battery recycling concerns. Secondly, the machine is exempt from recharging, which generates constraints for the user and limits the life of the batteries. On the contrary, its cycles are unlimited, assures the manufacturer. So many assets in favor of the energy transition presented by Adrien Lelièvre on the set of the TF1 newspaper last March. This transition to prime time listening was a real launching pad for the bike made in Loiret. It would have caused pre-orders of some 10,000 copies of PiPop that Veloci hopes to be able to deliver in 2022 and 2023.

Four years of research

The adventure of this revolutionary machine actually started five years ago with the acquisition in 2016 and 2017 by Adrien Lelièvre of the small electronic cabling companies STEE, and the manufacturing of Mecatronique Industrial Solutions magnetic cards. This former industrial director of the French ETI Exxelia, which specializes in electronic components for defence, space and aeronautics, brought them together under the Veloci industries holding company. While Stee and Mecatronics have continued their historic activity in parallel, the buyer has staffed up by recruiting a CNRS doctor specializing in energy storage systems, as well as a doctoral student in energy management for soft mobility. Objective for Adrien Lelièvre, to adapt to the bike the super capacitors manufactured by Exxelia for its three cutting-edge sectors.

Supported by major clients such as La Poste, Air France and Enedis, the entrepreneur took four years to design the Pi-Pop, now protected by several patents. Sold for less than 2,000 euros, it will really attack the market from the start of the school year but especially from the 1st quarter of 2023. This deadline should indeed announce the end of the supply disruptions of mainly Asian electronic components, according to most international experts. .

80 employees in 2025

The 15 to 20% increase in bicycle sales since the start of the health crisis in 2020 allows Veloci industries to foresee very favorable development prospects and a change in dimension. The group expects a production rate of 25,000 Pi-Pop over the next three years with an expected turnover of around 50 million euros. A huge leap since the group achieved less than two million euros in revenue in 2021. In this context, Veloci will double the surface area of ​​its premises with the purchase before the summer of a new 1,000 m2 building in Saint- Cyr en Val, a town also located in the Orleans metropolis. Planned to operate exclusively the bicycle manufacturing activity, the future unit will eventually employ 80 people, according to Adrien Lelièvre. If the entrepreneur remains discreet about the investment, financed with his own funds, granted to develop the Pi-Pop, he is now planning to densify the activity of the factory which will be operational in 2023. It should also eventually manufacture models of electric bicycles without chains and rechargeable thanks to the pedals.