Gary Fisher is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the mountain biking scene. Now he’s turned his attention to e-bikes. Fisher says the new project he is involved with, Morelle, will deliver a new e bike battery offering, “half the weight twice the power,” and which fully recharges in 30 minutes.
“There is no way to Net Zero without micromobility,” Fisher told Cycling Industry News last year after attending Eurobike. “One Tesla battery equals 200 e-bike batteries. That’s the product side, but there are other cues that are driving city-based changes.
“Property developers are looking more at building close to transit routes, be it public transport or bike paths. Each building comes with less parking spaces put in as they’re no longer needed and you can lower the cost of the building without them. From an employer’s perspective, traffic does not make for a reliable or healthy workforce. Don’t you want your employees to show up on time consistently?”
So e-bikes it is then, in the form of Morelle, a new start-up Fisher has founded together with battery scientist Dr Kevin Hays and Michael Sinkula, the founder of Ionblox, a company focused on aerospace battery tech which recently raised $32m in its second round of funding.
According to the firm itself, its “pre-lithiated Silicon anode technology enables a ground-breaking combination of up to 50 per cent higher energy density, 5x more power, and an extreme fast charge of 10 minutes compared with conventional lithium-ion cells.”
“This technology was originally developed for the aeronautics industry,” Fisher told Cycling Electric. “We are bringing it to e-bikes. Its chemistry and mechanics are the difference. It’s been more than ten years in development and is well protected by robust patents.”
He also said that, “recycling of these batteries is very important to us. Our battery is good for over a thousand recharges.”
While a finished product is said to be at least a year away, Morelle's plan is to offer e-bikes on subscription to try and capture a market that might otherwise be put off by the purchase price of a brand new e-bike.
Fisher told Bicycle Retailer that the first bike would be a relatively straightforward aluminium-framed model with a mid-motor and integrated electronics, such as lighting and wireless tyre pressure sensors.
"I want to make stuff that lasts, that I know you can work on and actually get a replacement part that fits in there nicely," he said. "It will be a mix of the old and the new."
And after that, he’d like to take a look at e-cargo bikes.
"I want to Americanise the electric cargo bike," he said.
Brighter lights seem to be one element he’d like to see there, as well as improved kickstands.
There’s talk of a network of charging stations too which would also cater to e-scooters – something else that Fisher is a fan of.
“Now I’m seeing 7 to 14-year-olds on these e-scooters,” he said last year. “A kid that weighs 20- 30 kilos can go up hills all day on a charge. That means the mother doesn’t have to drive them all the time. I spoke to [the] chief of police locally. He says, ‘If I crack down on them then the mums will be angry at me.’”
April 12, 2023: This article was amended. An earlier version incorrectly said that Morelle was a subsidiary of Ionblox.