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New partnership aims to encourage US e-bike manufacturing

Published November 13, 2023

DETROIT (BRAIN) — The co-founders of Propel Bikes and Vela Bikes announced Monday the creation of Bloom, a vertical integration partner for light electric vehicles, with its first manufacturing location in the Motor City.

Leading Bloom will be Propel's Chris Nolte and Vela's Justin Kosmides, who will collaborate with micromobility strategic partners to provide domestic contract manufacturing, assembly, delivery and servicing. Propel operates three e-bike retail stores, in New York, Delaware and California. Vela is an e-bike brand that began in Brazil and relocated to Brooklyn, New York, and now manufactures in Detroit. 

According to Bloom, the company will offer partner brands improved control over supply chain and shorter production windows. Bloom's partnership with Newlab in Detroit's Michigan Central innovation district will offer "flexible, specialized manufacturing capabilities and world-class prototyping equipment."

Bloom will announce additional physical expansions next year.

"Bloom's decision to launch its operations in Detroit is a testament to our state's commitment to fostering cutting-edge mobility solutions and our ongoing mission to drive the future of transportation," said Justine Johnson, Michigan's chief mobility officer.

Bloom is working with a growing list of more than 25 mobility companies in various stages to explore the relocation of their manufacturing, logistics, and service to Bloom's platform. Bloom had early success with fundraising late this summer, with the first round being oversubscribed. Based on this positive industry reception for a domestic solution, Bloom said it is fundraising for future expansions in partnerships with a combination of private and public capital sources.

"Bloom's highest calling is reimagining how we create and support the products driving this transportation renaissance," said Nolte, an e-bike retailer since 2011. "Transportation is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, and Bloom's role is to boost the resilience of light electric vehicles to make electric mobility more integrated, adaptable, and safe, all while decarbonizing the American infrastructure. Our goal is to partner with companies across the micromobility industry, connecting people and serving as a resource to propel the entire field forward."

Bloom's headquarters is in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood, which encompasses a network of assembly, delivery, and service operations. Bloom is collaborating with the state to make Southeast Michigan "the micromobility manufacturing capital of the country, positioning Bloom's ecosystem as a transformative facilitator for the transportation industry."

Kosmides moved Sao Paulo-based Vela's primary manufacturing hub from China to Newlab's startup location in Brooklyn, New York, last year after experiencing COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. It announced last November that it was having e-bikes made by Detroit Bikes

"Light electric vehicles like e-bikes are selling twice as fast in the U.S. as electric cars or trucks," Kosmides said. "The industry recognizes the incredible opportunity to capture a massive movement entering the market and a once-in-a-generation adoption. With this growth comes pressure to prioritize short-term sales of cheaper products over a true lifecycle cost of ownership. As an industry, we've been focusing so much on growth without stepping back to properly evaluate the costs of what we're building, and it has resulted in some prominent recent setbacks and failures of brands.

"Ninety-seven percent of these products are made outside the U.S. At Bloom, we want the brands in our network and their customers to have confidence in knowing where these bikes come from and to feel invested in the places and people that made, delivered, and serviced them. We're working to build American products that last a lifetime, reducing the churn of an overheated market and elevating the industry as a whole so even more people feel confident joining the micromobility revolution."

Chris Nolte, left, and Justin Kosmides.
Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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