Croatian electric bike manufacturer Greyp Bikes has a new majority shareholder: Porsche. The sports car manufacturer’s venture capital arm, Porsche Ventures, has held a stake of around 10 percent in the e-bike company since 2018.
Greyp (pronounced like the fruit) was founded Mate Rimac — aka “Croatia’s Elon Musk” — the brainchild behind electric supercar startup Rimac Automobili. The company makes highly connected, extremely powerful electric mountain bikes, including the $10,000 flagship, full-suspension G6. The company sells its bikes in Europe and recently launched its US operations based in San Pedro, Calif.
The investment is another sign of Porsche’s confidence in Rimac’s business prowess. The automaker also owns a small stake in Rimac Automobili, which it bought at the same time it initially purchased shares in Greyp. Rimac recently announced that it was taking over Bugatti from Porsche’s parent company, Volkswagen, to form a new company called Bugatti Rimac.
The increased investment comes at a time of accelerated growth in the world of e-bikes. Sales of e-bikes are growing faster than traditional bikes in most major markets. The pandemic was a big factor, with sales increasing 145 percent from 2019 to 2020, more than double the rate of non-motorized bikes, according to the market research firm NPD Group.
Porsche characterized the decision to take a controlling interest in Greyp as part of its broader plan to invest in zero- and low-emission vehicles, including plug-in hybrid vehicles and the all-electric Porsche Taycan. The company has said it will have a carbon neutral “balance sheet” by 2030.
Porsche is no stranger to the world of e-bikes. Earlier this year, the automaker unveiled a pair of high-priced, full-suspension electric mountain bikes, the Sport and the Cross.
The Sport is a road bike intended for everyday use, with a full-suspension carbon fiber frame, integrated front and rear lights, Shimano mid-drive motor, and a $10,700 price tag. The Cross, which is more for off-roading adventures, sports a Shimano mid-drive, carbon fiber frame, and full suspension frame, in addition to Magura-MT Trail hydraulic disc brakes that are extra-large and “heat resistant.” It weighs 48.7 pounds and retails for $8,549.
Porsche is the latest company specializing in combustion engine vehicles to dip a toe into the world of electric two-wheelers. Often, when you hear about car companies releasing their own electric bikes, it’s just a brand licensing deal. (Think Jeep’s e-bike or those Hummer bikes from last decade.) Other times, it’s a much-hyped project that ends up falling victim to larger corporate cost-cutting, like General Motors’ Ariv e-bikes. But occasionally, something interesting emerges, like Harley-Davidson’s recently released Serial 1 e-bikes.