BREKR looks to the past as well as the future. The Dutch electric moped maker was launched in 2018 by Jasper Hagedoorn and entrepreneur Niels Willems.
It was named after the word ‘brekken’, which means having outrageous fun in the dialect of the Achterhoek, the region of Holland where the start-up is based.
Auto Futures has been talking to entrepreneur Willems, who’s the company’s Commercial Director. He started by describing BREKR’s backstory.
“We saw the potential for change in the light electric vehicle (LEV) market. Lots of e-bike, great new cars, innovative last mile solutions, but little was happening with scooters and mopeds. New design looked like they run on fossil fuel. Why do electric mopeds have a gas tank? If technology changes, design should follow. Make it logical and use the opportunities to add benefits. This was the starting point,” says Willems.
“The design of the Brekr is based on the beautiful bikes and mopeds made in the past but makes a step forward at the same time. So people call it a futuristic café racer,” he adds.
The Brekr Model B has the capacity to house two removable batteries. A single battery has a capacity of 2,0 kWh, allowing a range of 50 to 80 kilometres. Adding a second battery increases this range to 100 – 160 kilometres.
“Batteries that can be taken out can be charged anywhere. People living in the city can’t always park where that can charge as well. Using two packs gives you the option to go for a lower price (1 battery) or long range (2 batteries). 80 percent of our clients use one battery which gives them sufficient range,” explains Willems.
Design is also really important for BREKR.
“We have added sounds which can be switched on or off. Riding in silence is great (Off). But people don’t hear you which can be unsafe. If people hear you, they see you. The sound is made by the skid plate and changes in tone and pitch as you speed up or slow down. Furthermore; the Brekr is smart/connected, built with aluminium to save weight, has an EVA battery box (durable and light). Premium cells used for the on or two battery packs that you can take out. It offers great riding due to its construction.”
Willems describes what it’s like to ride the Brekr Model B.
“17 inch wheels makes your ride more smooth. You can clamp the Brekr with your knees to feel full feedback. It has a low point of gravity due to the low placement of the batteries. These looks a bit dangerous perhaps but is easier to ride than any scooter. It is fun to ride it,” he says.
Each Brekr Model B is equipped with a GPS module so it can be tracked down if it gets stolen. Owners can stay connected to the moped via the Brekr app, which can provide insights into each ride driven, its location and suspicious movements.
“The main benefit is the recovery service when stolen. All our mopeds are connected and always on. The app will be improved and updated over time, but we have many ideas to make it more beneficial for our users,” says Willems.
Accelerate and Accumulate
Project Accumulate is the name of BREKR’s collaboration with the University of Twente, and other partners. The project’s goal to develop a long life battery; one which can be used in its electric moped over an extended period due to its ability to be overhauled and reused.
When the battery is no longer good enough for use in its electric mopeds, BREKR will ensure it is suitable for use in other products. This effectively means lower costs for customers by extending battery life.
“Riding electric has many environmental benefits. The battery has a big impact on these benefits. With this project we want to built better batteries that last longer, can easily by fixed or revised and can be recovered for a second life for a different purpose/usage. Safety has to be maximized from beginning to end.”
“Polluting our cities the way we do is a dead end road. The future is electric.”
The Dutch investment group Bloomit is one of the backers of BREKR and invested in 2021.
“Our ambition is to grow in Europe and enter new markets. We are also working on a new product.”
Finally, we asked Willems what urban mobility will look like by 2030.
“Cities will grow, LEVs are the way to move yourself in a city. By 2030 all new scooters and mopeds will be electric, because people want to and/or because it will be forced by law. Polluting our cities the way we do is a dead end road. The future is electric,” he concludes.