Carlo Schmid and Sebastian Martenr
Managing Directors of Second Ride
With your startup Second Ride, you want to help drive the energy transformation in the mobility sector by converting Simson mopeds to electric. Your project laboratory at TU Berlin fostered interdisciplinary collaboration among students. What influence did this have on the startup?
It had a huge influence! The project laboratory gave us a space where we could really dive deep into the topic over a period of a year and a half. Each year, more than 15 students from a variety of disciplines helped develop and evaluate ideas around the electrification of internal combustion engine vehicles. This interdisciplinarity helped us to understand different aspects such as technical feasibility, economic viability, and even legal issues.
You have already run a successful crowdfunding campaign and are offering electric conversion kits for two Simson models. What do you aim to do next?
Now that we have successfully launched our limited run, our main aim is to scale up production. We’re going to go from producing 30 units this year to over 500 in 2023. We’ve already received advance orders for a good number of these, which shows that people really like the concept. We’re also going to enhance the compatibility of the conversion kit so that people will be able to electrify just about any Simson model using our kit from next year. We’ll then apply our approach to other brands in the two- and four-wheel sectors. To meet these challenges, the main thing we need is a highly motivated team – and we’re currently building that.
Looking ten years down the line, what kind of impact do you want to achieve with Second Ride?
Because the body, frame and interior don’t have to be produced from scratch, converting and reusing vehicles reduces greenhouse gas emissions by over 50%, compared to producing a new electric vehicle.
Our vision is to help bring about a sustainable transition in the transport sector by offering an alternative path to electromobility. In 10 years’ time, retrofitting internal combustion engine vehicles with electric engines will no longer be a niche business. It will be a well-known, sustainable and cost-attractive alternative to buying a new electric car.
The interview was conducted in December 2022.