Heinz Nixdorf and the e-bike

In 1984, Heinz Nixdorf visited his plant in Berlin and spoke with Günter Baitz, the head of the cash register system department there and a man who had already made a name for himself as an inventor.

Nixdorf said he could not bear to watch old people, in particular, huffing and puffing as they rode their bicycles. He asked Baitz and his staff to develop an electrically driven bicycle. Nixdorf, who worked out on a fitness bike every day, also wanted to create a ridable workout bicycle. He already had an idea for energy recovery, a feature found today in high-end pedelecs.

Women’s bicycle with 12 volts

Baitz bought a women’s bike of the Hercules Ibiza brand. His colleague Wilfrid Dobring obtained a 12-volt motor from the automotive industry and the necessary batteries. After the workday ended, they set about the task of turning Heinz Nixdorf’s idea into reality, and produced a ridable e-bike.

When Nixdorf returned to Berlin at the end of 1985, he took a spin on the new bicycle. Nixdorf was determined to develop the bike to the point of series production, but after died in 1986, the Management Board that succeeded him stopped the project.