Source: TWIKE press release from 17.10.2023
On the way to the prototype, the completion of the driver test vehicle is an important milestone for the market launch of the TWIKE 5. In addition to technical and logistical challenges, however, the project still faces financial challenges.
Nine years have passed since the new TWIKE 5 development. Nine years in which all those involved overcame countless hurdles to realize their vision of a lightweight, high-performance mobility solution for a sustainable future that is at the same time comfortable and suitable for everyday use, but above all “cool” in the purest sense. Building on the experience of more than 35 years of vehicle history, since its origins as a velomobile, the TWIKE also sees itself as a community project to this day. Accordingly, TWIKE CEO Martin Möscheid already announced the current status of prototype development in the community live chat at the end of August.
A further milestone has been reached with the completion of the driver evaluation vehicle (FET), consisting of the TWIKE chassis with frame, the chassis, the drive unit, the electrics and electronics, right through to the software. The roadworthy base frame was put into operation last week and now offers extensive opportunities for practical testing of the driving characteristics and further optimization and tuning of all vehicle components, including the gradual adaptation of the body and interior.
“Even the first driving impression is convincing. Things hang together now in such a way that it’s not many steps anymore,” Möscheid explained. In the meantime, the first cabling has also been completed, for which Möscheid had predicted some more challenging night sessions in the interview.
In addition to continuing to perform demanding technical tasks, the TWIKE team also has a lot to handle logistically and financially. For example, a significant proportion of the components required for the subsequent series production of 500 planned vehicles must be ordered, stored and paid for by around 600 suppliers involved.
As longer delivery times have to be calculated for many components and orders can often only be placed in full quantities, Möscheid anticipates a total liquidity requirement of around €6 million in the coming months. In order to be able to start series production next year, the TWIKE makers are continuing to rely on the power of the community.
So far, almost 2,400 pre-orders have been received for the limited series of 500 TWIKE 5 vehicles. Who gets a vehicle does not depend solely on when the order is placed. A down payment on the purchase price increases the chances by improving the individual ranking. The current status can be tracked online. In this way, around 360 vehicles are currently reserved for the time being. In order to cover the increasing liquidity requirements, Möscheid is therefore relying on further advance orders with prepayment as well as on topping up advance payments already made, which can secure the relevant position in the ranking.
“If the first 500 orderers in the ranking each prepay a base of about 20,000 euros on average, we can represent the required liquidity over the period,” Möscheid calculates in the interview. According to Möscheid, if this does not succeed to the full extent, it would result in a delay of the project, which all parties involved would like to avoid as far as possible. Against this background, cooperation with external investors is also not taboo, even if strong identification with the TWIKE philosophy is always a prerequisite.
In the spirit of crowd innovation, communication with the TWIKE community and future as well as potential users remains a priority. This is also expressed in monthly Saturday events in Rosenthal. They are not only used by the TWIKE makers to inform them about current topics and the status of development, but also provide feedback in a direct exchange that is constructively incorporated into the development process.