Founders Tomas Keppens and Jorrit Heidbuchel of IntuEdrive have a mission: they want to develop the best speed pedelec on the market and thus shape the mobility of tomorrow. That is why they are using automotive technology to make e-bikes more reliable, safer and easier to use. They gave their brainchild the name 'Ellio'.
This week, Leuven is in the spotlight as the sports epicenter of the world. The passage of the World cycling championships puts the city and the region once more on the international map. But it will not only be the fantastic aerial images of the region that will make people's mouths water. The technological know-how of the region is also of world (champion's) level. Every day of this week, we put a Leuven-based bicycle innovator in the spotlight. Today (Thursday): IntuEdrive.
Under the name Ellio, IntuEdrive built an e-bike - not so much for cyclists, but for motorists. Like the car, Ellio must fit perfectly into the daily lives of its users. Ellio therefore has all-wheel drive, is fully automatic and is 100% made in Belgium. In 2020, this ingenious speed pedelec successfully went into production.
"The car has won people's hearts by offering 'mobility peace of mind', an E-bike should do the same," says co-founder Jorrit Heidbuchel. Ellio wants to increase the range of a standard E-bike, making it a real car alternative. Also outside the city, in all weather and road conditions and also when you have more luggage than a backpack.
All the systems you know from your car are in this smart bike. Ellio is also the very first speed E-bike with all-wheel drive, which provides extra safety and makes the bike stable. Ellio is also the first speed E-bike that is fully automatic: the gears change automatically, the electric assistance adjusts itself to the circumstances, and even when braking you no longer need your brake handles. After a sudden stop, the Ellio has the right gear ready for you, so you can get going quickly.
The bike is also software-controlled. It learns from your riding behaviour and regularly adds new features thanks to software updates. The battery recuperates braking energy, which increases the driving range. These are all assets that the founders of IntuEdrive are taking with them to make the speed pedelec a real alternative to the car.
With Ellio, IntuEdrive has developed a Belgian-made product that has its feet firmly in the ground of the Leuven ecosystem. The mindset, too, seems cast from Leuven soil, as the co-creation system IntuEdrive sets up with its customers is innovative: each customer is a co-developer of sorts. "We place great value on user feedback," Heidbuchel explains. "When we start new developments, the first step is to look at customer feedback. With the questions we encounter the most, we get to work and then eventually feed back to those same customers. The updates are implemented, and so you always enjoy new features on your existing bike."
In an ideal world, in five years Ellio will be the European leader in the speed pedelec market. "Although we don't like to talk about this kind of ambition because we focus strongly on our core mission: to change the way people commute. That will only happen with a rock solid product and that is our first priority", concludes Jorrit Heidbuchel.