E-bike Concept Rides Into the Past to Prepare for the Future of Urban Mobility

If you had to design an electric bike, would you start from scratch or expand on existing prototypes?

BASF's internal consultancy center, designfabrik® asked DING3000, a team of sophisticated product designers, these very questions. Their response: Merge yesterday's design with today's technology.

E-bike Concept Rides Into the Past to Prepare for the Future of Urban Mobility

The Concept 1865 e-bike conceived by DING3000 is a roadworthy, modern velocipede.

With only two months and three designers, DING3000 came out with a design so old school, it's not even from this century.

How old school? Exactly 150 years. Called Concept 1865, they went as far back as when the first pedal powered bicycle was invented. Accidentally, the same year that BASF was founded.

Similar to the .com era from the 2000's, 1865 was part of an impressive time period - flooded with innovations, and the velocipede, as it was called, was no exception.

With only two months and three designers, DING3000 came out with a design so old school, it's not even from this century.

Now, 150 years later, the majority of automakers have their own e-bikes to address urban mobility, moving beyond just an automotive perspective and speaking to transportation in general. What DING3000 noticed, however, is that today's e-bikes all settled on the generic bike geometry of nowadays.  Therefore, they took a different approach by taking a closer look at the original design elements and rethinking it with new materials.

E-bike Concept Rides Into the Past to Prepare for the Future of Urban Mobility 

Infinergy®, the first expanded thermoplastic polyurethane, is used to reimagine the tire core.

"If I design a new smartphone, I don't want to look at the iPhone and think 'I can do a better iPhone," said Sven Rudolph, designer at DING3000. "I want to look back at the beginning of the cell phone altogether and find a tiny imperfection to create a better solution."

Using BASF materials such as Infinergy and Elastollan thermoplastic polyurethane to reimage the tire core and profile, and Ultracom to redefine the front wheel rim, DING3000 created Concept 1865 to show how these and other solutions enable a world of design opportunities within the transportation industry.

As a tribute to this era of enthusiasm for technology and invention, DING3000 and BASF have embarked on an unparalleled thought experiment and developed a video to show how it would look and function with today's advanced materials.


"Even if this bike isn't a realistic concept, it has smart solutions that are leading into the future. And that's only possible because we decided to take a step back and look into the past," said Rudolph.

BASF designfabrik hosted fabriktage 2015 as part of the Milan Furniture Fair, and presented Concept 1865 as an invitation to accompany BASF in the development of new applications and product ideas that utilize their advanced materials. They look forward to continued collaboration with automotive engineers and designers in the same way.

E-bike Concept Rides Into the Past to Prepare for the Future of Urban Mobility The "1865 - Inspired by History" section of the exhibition refers to the age in which BASF was founded.

Taking the expertise of a materials supplier like BASF and combining it with talented designers and engineers, anything is possible. BASF hopes that by "Rethinking Materials", Concept 1865 will encourage vehicle makers to aid in questioning the status quo and create something new - just as the pioneers of the velocipede did.