“Porsche of E-Bikes” Stokes Greyp Expectations – IEEE Spectrum

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Luxe two-wheeler boasts GPS, telemetry, remote anti-theft tech—and a certain German carmaker’s majority ownership
Greyp’s G6 e-bike defines high-end in its category—and now Porsche has acquired a majority stake in the Croatian company.
Even chip shortages and supply-chain snafus haven’t stopped the Pyrenees-worthy ascent of e-bikes, whose sales are leaving traditional bikes in their dust. If more evidence were needed that e-bikes and micromobility are a cool defense for a toasting planet, consider this: Porsche, the venerable sports-car purveyor, recently acquired a majority stake in Greyp. That’s the Croatian e-bike company founded by 33-year-old Mate Rimac, the electric-car wunderkind and CEO of the newly formed Bugatti Rimac, of which Porsche holds a 45-percent share.
Greyp (pronounced “grape”) isn’t looking to be the two-wheeled analogue of the US $2.4 million, nearly 2,000-horsepower Rimac Nevera hypercar, according to company CEO Krešimir Hlede. Yet the company’s high-end offerings, starting from around $7,000, are similar technology flagships, designed to help Greyp sell its digital know-how to other bike manufacturers, just as Rimac is supplying EV tech to Aston Martin and Koenigsegg, and developing a high-performance EV for Hyundai.
“We do have ‘bikes’ in our name, but we’re not a bike company,” Hlede says of his vertically integrated outfit. Of 50 employees in Greyp R&D, only four work on the physical bikes themselves. And the company has sold only about 2,000 bikes since 2019, nearly all in Europe, with about 1,200 pre-ordered for 2022.
Think of Greyps as smartphones or PlayStations with pedals, and Android/iOS apps as their nerve centers.
“We’re never going to sell 100,000 bikes, because then we’d become a competitor to our own customers,” Hlede says.
So what is the company up to in Sveta Nedelja, near Rimac’s factory on the outskirts of Zagreb? Greyp touts its creations as the first fully connected e-bikes. They’re designed to meld the digital and real worlds, and get people huffing and puffing in the process.
Extravagantly styled models like the Greyp G6 (starting from about $8,000) are stuffed with sensors, 4G eSIM modules and GPS; dual 1080p/30fps cameras, telemetry and rider data; remote antitheft features and real-time gamification. Think of Greyps as smartphones or PlayStations with pedals, and Android/iOS apps as their nerve centers.
That connected philosophy already gets on the nerves of some old-school riders, who see biking as a blessed escape from screen time, and a way to tune into one’s natural surroundings. But company execs and engineers instead see a competitive edge.
Certainly, Greyp’s bikes don’t skimp on top hardware. The G6 is a full-suspension mountain bike with such goodies as a T700 carbon frame, Formula Selva fork, Formula Cura disc brakes, SRAM drivetrain and Schwalbe tires. A mid-drive motor by MDF, updated with Greyp firmware, outputs a nominal 250 watts of pedal-assisted power (450 watts peak), with a 700 watt-hour battery.
“If our bike puts a smile on your face, and our competitor doesn’t, we win.”
—Krešimir Hlede, CEO, Greyp
Yet Hlede says the world’s e-bike giants all draw from the same shelves of familiar, largely interchangeable hardware—frames and forks, derailleurs, batteries, and motors—from suppliers such as Shimano and SRAM, Yamaha and Bosch. Regulations limit maximum speed and power, and practical limitations in battery mass make it hard to eke out a meaningful edge in range.
“In bikes, it’s difficult to be different,” Hlede says in a video interview. “We’re not creating a bike for the next Olympic champ, or the most efficient bike. You won’t hear a lot of discussion from us on range or newton-meters, because most people honestly don’t give a damn. But if our bike puts a smile on your face, and our competitor doesn’t, we win.”
On Greyp bikes, front- and rear-mounted cameras constantly buffer action in 20-second bites, so riders can press a button and save footage for a social post or posterity.
Front mounted camera on Greyp bike. A front-mounted wide-angle camera joins a rear-mounted similar device in providing Greyp e-bikes with action-capturing eyes fore and aft. Greyp
“When you see, say, a pink elephant cross the road and say, ‘I really should have recorded that,’ you’ve already got it,” Hlede says.
Another in-the-works feature will let the bike recognize a jump or stunt in progress, and automatically load that clip onto the user’s phone. Using their apps and TMobile connections, riders can communicate with bikes remotely to snap still images or manage functions.
“All of a sudden you have a bike you can take from point A to point B, but one that will also create content, make decisions for you, provide a gaming platform, and communicate with other bikes or infrastructure.”
—Krešimir Hlede
If a rider tumbles into a ditch or encounters an emergency, the bike can automatically dial for assistance, as with cell-connected services in cars. Owners can be alerted if someone moves or makes off with their pricey bike, and track or even disable the Greyp entirely. A battery charge takes about 5 hours. But a hidden, secondary battery maintains a connection for up to six months if the main battery is depleted or removed, according to company engineers Robert Gotal and Saša Počuča.
Onboard sensors capture dozens of telemetry data sets, including hill gradients, g-forces, rpm cadence, or a rider’s physical power output and heart rate. That heart monitor can adjust the bike’s power-assist level accordingly, or to match a preset workout schedule. As with auto-racing software, users can analyze their rides in granular detail to improve their skills or adjust training regimens. Gamification features let riders compete with one another—and potentially “players” in other locations—over GPS-linked courses, capturing flags or seeking high scores in time, speed, or physical output.
man riding e-bike in hilly situation Greyp
“All of a sudden you have a bike you can take from point A to point B, but one that will also create content, make decisions for you, provide a gaming platform, and communicate with other bikes or infrastructure,” Hlede says.
Several of Greyp’s digital features are on the sleek new Storck Cyklaer, an innovative, lightweight e-bike made in a partnership between Greyp, Storck Bicycles, Porsche Digital, and Fazua, the German drivetrain maker. That bike also lets riders remove both the battery and motor when they don’t need the assistance, greatly lightening the load.
Hlede believes that linking bikes to the phone-and-Internet world will only boost the sport’s popularity; he cites an overall 40 percent rise in e-bike sales in Europe in 2021, 140 percent in the United States, and the Far East’s longtime practice of moving through cities on two wheels.
“This is absolutely something that can happen in the Western world. My mother is 70, and all of a sudden, this allows her to ride a bike,” Hlede says.
“My own traditional mountain bike has been collecting dust for five years,” he continues. “Going up a hill is no longer a pleasure, but a punishment. Without an e-bike, I wouldn’t go for a weekend ride, but now I will.”
Lawrence Ulrich is an award-winning auto writer and former chief auto critic at The New York Times and The Detroit Free Press.
With all the hardware included they forgot to add a pair of cheap mudguards. So they made it into something useful for some sporadic adventures, not much more.
At the last decade of the previous century the buzzword was HPV, Human Powered Vehicle. Now e-bike makers emerge like VanMoof and GreyP that consider themselves as competitors to car makers. As most of us can afford simple cars, some enjoy luxury cars like Porsche, same happens with the e-bike market. As for CO2 reduction, HPV is better than an e-bike, and these luxury e-bikes are better than cars. Personally I find it funny to see this bearded hipster climb a mountain on a Porsche like e-bike. I keep enjoying commuting to work on an HPV.
And how the U.S. Army hijacked the videogame
Three-dimensional displays first appeared on computer screens in the 1960s, and very large machines could manipulate those images in real time, but it was not until 1980 that a video-game player could maneuver at will through an imaginary landscape, wreaking havoc until brought to an untimely end by enemy tanks. Battlezone, a first-person tank game, was made possible by a vector display unit used by Atari Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif., in Asteroids, which came out the previous year.
Even with the vector generator, according to Videa’s Ed Rotberg, who wrote computer code for the game, Battlezone required three microprocessors: a 6502 to control the game play, a custom processor for the display, and another, built from 2901 bit-slice processors, for the mathematics. The display generator and the game microprocessor operated either in parallel or in sequence with the others.
“It was pretty fast,” said Mr. Rotberg. “Quite often it wasn’t worth going off and doing something else—you just waited for the math box to finish.”
What the math box in Battlezone does is solve the matrix equations for vanishing-point perspective for all of the objects on the screen. To bring the problem within reach, the game is restricted to movement on a horizontal plane, reducing the matrix from 4 by 4 to 2 by 2. Much of the early work in designing Battlezone, Mr. Rotberg said, was involved in “figuring out how to organize the data.”
This article was first published as “Battlezone: war in 3-D.” It appeared in the December 1982 issue of IEEE Spectrum as part of a special report, “Video games: The electronic big bang.” A PDF version is available on IEEE Xplore.
Because Battlezone is a vector game, objects consist simply of points connected by lines, rather than entire filled regions, as a raster game would have. Even so, controlling the number of objects on the screen stretched the abilities of the three microprocessors, and Mr. Rotberg had to go to his graphic designer, Roger Hector, who also helped define the game play, to ask: “Could you do the same thing in less lines, less vertices?”
Although Battlezone does not deal with the hidden-line problem, it does use diminished brightness to indicate distance, and, like any vector-drawing system, it most cope with the problems of clipping—that is, deciding what objects are on the screen and what to do about objects that are partly on the screen and partly off.
“We did an end run around the problem,” said Mr. Rotberg. “The hardware lets you draw about half a screen off each side, which helps considerably. You calculate where the center points are and determine whether or not you’re going to display an object, and if you are, you draw all its lines regardless of whether or not they’ll be on the screen.”
There is only one problem with this approach: if an object is very close, it may suddenly disappear from the screen, because its center point has moved off screen, even though some lines should still remain on the screen. But, noted Mr. Rotberg, “if we didn’t do it that way we’d be instructing the vector generator to draw lines past where it could, and it would go off into the ozone.”
Battlezone took 15 months to develop, from the beginning of design to production. Some features, like an erupting volcano on the horizon, went into the game because they were fun and there was time to do them, Mr. Rotberg said.
“Early in the game there is a lack of a sense of urgency,” he noted. “You can stroll around and blow tanks up or not. A modification would be to give you a goal other than blowing up tanks.”
“One of the reasons engineers worked for Atari instead of working for the Government or a corporation doing Government contracts was that [military] is not the kind of work we want to be doing.”
If he had the game to do over again with today’s technology, Mr. Rotberg said, he would change it even more: instead of a monochrome display, a color vector display could be used, and newer microprocessors and cheaper memory could add realism and complexity.
Mr. Rotberg did do a version of Battlezone with added realism and complexity, but only under duress. It is called Army Battlezone, and it features a rolling landscape and images of U.S. and Soviet tanks. A company under contract to the Army to find training uses for video games approached Atari just as Battlezone was going into production, Mr. Rotberg said. He related:
“They had no idea it existed, saw it in the lobby, and said, ‘That’s what we want.’ And someone at Atari said, ‘We could make it just what you want.’ This was in December. They said the Army was having a meeting of the training centers in March, could Atari make it to their specifications by then?
“I said I didn’t want anything to do with the project. I was vehemently against it, but it became readily apparent that there was no one else familiar enough with the software in Battlezone to make the modifications by March. We had a formal brainstorming session, and I got into a loud shouting match with Joe Robbins, then president of Atari’s coin-op division, about Army Battlezone. I felt one of the reasons engineers worked for Atari instead of working for the Government or for a corporation doing Government contracts was that it [military] is not the kind of work we want to be doing. And with talk about games being violent and molding the minds of children, it couldn’t possibly be good press.
“I ended up losing three months of my life, spending every waking minute at Atari, coming home at 1 a.m., going in at 6 a.m. The game got done.”


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