Dutch police are investigating malicious intent as the cause of a huge factory at Ebike Netherlands.
A case of sabotage is being investigated after a car crash and fire at Ebike Netherland headquarters.
In a year where production disruptions, supply chain issues and surging demand are already triggering huge lead times, this incident in the Dutch town of Cujik could not have happened at a worse time.
Ebike Netherlands had its Cujik production and research facility destroyed after a first-generation BMW 1 Series drove into the building, triggering a fire. With a significant inventory of lithium-ion batteries on-site, the blaze developed with great intensity.
Dutch fire crews eventually drew water directly from the river Maas, to contain the blaze. The combustibility and energy density of lithium-ion batteries make managing any fire of this scale extremely difficult. That said, there were no injuries or fatalities, as the vehicle impact happened at 04:20am, but the fire raged into the evening.
Arno Cup, Ebike Netherland CEO, confirmed that damage to the facility is extensive. Although the building had been compartmentalised with fire doors, due to its status as a battery stowage facility, local officials are considering the site lost, as a commercial structure.
“Our production area and much of the nearly complete builds, have been destroyed. But our offices are still usable. We’ll see what can be saved.” Cup’s interactions with Dutch police established that the BMW 1 Series does not appear to have suffered a mechanical failure, crediting the possibility that it was driven into the building with intent.
“The mayor spoke of an attack on the business community. Police say it is a targeted action. You do not accidentally drive into a building. The power has not been restored. When we have that again, we can view the camera images and know more.”
Pressure to replace parts
Ebike Netherland has diversified production assets, including a facility in Waddinxveen. But at a time when demand for e-bikes is surging, and global component shortages are severe, the fire damage is a severe loss.
Although not a mountain bike brand, Ebike Netherland does produce a meaningful number of delivery bikes, which use suspension forks, hydraulic disc brakes and Gates carbon belt drive systems. Those are all bits that are sourced from the traditional mountain bike supply chain.
This fire means that a lot of valuable mountain bike components have gone up in smoke, which could add marginally to delivery pressures already in the global production pipeline.