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Flywheel | March 06, 2022
Featuring the top 5 used vehicles of the week and exploring the importance of transparency around battery health.
Welcome to Flywheel, a weekly exploration of the used side of owned micromobility. Each newsletter will highlight five of the most interesting used vehicles being sold in the market followed by an observation of trends emerging in the industry.
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This week’s featured vehicles are a spectrum of cruiser and commuter ebikes. The observation of the week explores the importance of transparency around battery health.
Top 5 Vehicles of the Week
The VanMoof X2 is arguably the model that launched VanMoof into contention as one of the best and most innovative e-bike manufacturers in the market. The X2 is a smaller, more agile version of the S2 designed for smaller/more space-constrained riders, and features a custom 250W front-wheel hub motor and an integrated 504Wh LG battery. Although the X2 is an older model, it features many of the same smart software and electronics features the newer S3/X3 is known for: automatic transmission, stealth-lock, anti-theft alarms/tracking, state-of-the-art firmware to hardware vertical integration, etc. This specific listing is barely used, with only 3 charge cycles and less than ~60 miles of usage. A representative from a VanMoof service hub also mentioned that they will offer diagnostics and maintenance servicings (charged a la carte) for used VanMoofs bought from secondary marketplaces. Listing can be found here.
Known as the Harley-Davidson of ebikes, the Rayvolt Cruzer is the flagship model of Rayvolt’s steampunk-inspired ebike line. This specific listing features the higher-end specs of the custom motor (1000W) and integrated battery (~1000Wh). Rayvolt vehicles have some of the most advanced software features found in e-bikes today: an adaptive motor controller designed in-house, regenerative braking, a gyro-sensor that adjusts pedal assistance based on the incline of the road, and anti-theft tracking that uses the strength of bluetooth connection to pinpoint the location of a stolen vehicle down to feet-level accuracy. The Cruzer can be a bit clumsy to maneuver, but its extra long wheelbase makes it an exciting vehicle to cruise on. This listing is essentially a brand new bike; it used to be a factory demo bike so it has very few miles ridden and comes with a two year warranty through the seller, an authorized North American Rayvolt distributor. Listing can be found here.
The Faraday Porteur is an elegant cruiser ebike known for its vintage aesthetic and iconic two top tube design. Its 250W hub-motor sits in the front wheel, while the 250Wh battery pack is integrated into the down tube. The control system mounted behind the seat post is modular and can easily be removed or swapped for maintenance. The bike is extremely maneuverable and smooth, due to its lightweight chassis (< 40lbs) and quiet Gates carbon belt drive. New Porteurs are no longer available since Faraday Bikes has shut down, so this specific listing that is in excellent condition and selling for over $200 less than average resale price is a rare find. Listing can be found here.
The Riese & Müller Nevo Vario comes from R&M’s best selling Nevo line, its family of step-through ebikes designed to be accessible to new riders. The Nevo Vario is extremely smooth and stable, due to R&M’s renowned front-suspension system combined with a stepless Enviolo transmission. This bike is one of the heavier class-1 ebikes on the market (~62lbs), but its 350W Bosch CX mountain bike powertrain helps make the bike sufficiently maneuverable on typical roads. Bosch states that the Nevo Vario’s 480Wh battery pack should be good for ~1500 full charge cycles, so this listing’s battery pack that seems to have less than 100 charge cycles should be in great condition. Listing can be found here.
The Wing Freedom has fast become a popular ebike for both individual consumers and shared fleets due to its affordability. At an MSRP of $1,298, it is one of the cheapest urban commuter ebikes available that still features reliable components (a 350W geared Bafang hub motor and a 500Wh battery). You may notice that the bike bears an uncanny resemblance to VanMoof e-bikes. While the Wing Freedom may not be as competitive in terms of performance or features as a VanMoof S2 or S3, it is usually sold for less than half the average resale price of a VanMoof. This specific listing is yet another vehicle retiring out of a shared fleet, and was recently diagnosed and tuned by a trained mechanic. Listing can be found here.
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Observation of the Week
Being transparent about battery health
Batteries are typically the most expensive component in a micromobility vehicle, and the unknown variable that is the battery health is the biggest risk and concern for buyers. Replacing a defective battery usually costs as much as, if not more than, the cost of the used vehicle itself.
That being said, most buyers don’t expect a perfectly functioning battery and understand that a used vehicle will have some level of depreciation of battery health. What seems to be more important to buyers is that sellers are transparent about battery health.
There is already a great deal of transparency over this matter. ~51% of listings on Craigslist make mention of the state of health of a battery. However, only ~17% give specific metrics (number of charge cycles, depreciation in total range, etc.) around the state of health of a battery. Unsurprisingly, the listings that do give these specific metrics tend to be the fastest selling.
As the secondary market grows and matures, a detailed diagnostic of the battery is a critical piece of information that sellers need to provide. A great example of a listing that does this is the BionX ebike kit featured on last week’s newsletter, which used a standard dealer PC adapter to detail number of on/off cycles, number of charging cycles, measured voltage, and other metrics:
Dealerships and bike shops making these types of adapters more widely accessible and selling vehicle PC reading services would introduce a level of transparency that addresses the biggest risk buyers face in the secondary micromobility market.
That’s it for this week. Thanks again for joining, see you next Sunday!
- Puneeth Meruva
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