In terms of sustainable mobility, the most popular and widely-used vehicles are likely bicycles. Bikes are easy to use, environmentally friendly, and do not require much storage or parking space. However, one of the biggest inconveniences of bikes, and a characteristic which turns many away from choosing bikes as their primary mode of transportation, is the fact that it is incredibly difficult to carry large loads of items with you while cycling. That was until NÜWIEL entered the frame.
NÜWIEL is a tech startup from Hamburg, Germany founded by Natalia Tomiyama, Fahad Khan and Sandro Rabbiosi in 2016. Their vision is to free cities from unnecessary car use, noise and air pollution, and they are trying to achieve these ends through the development of an innovative electric-powered bike trailer to transport goods in urban areas. Today, it is a very exciting moment to speak with NÜWIEL’s co-founder Natalia Tomiyama as the company just started a test with IKEA which will allow IKEA’s clients in the Hamburg area to use NÜWIEL’s trailer to carry home their purchases in a convenient, eco-friendly way.
How did NÜWIEL originally get started?
Natalia Tomiyama: I met with the other co-founders at the EU-funded entrepreneurship workshop “HEKATE”. Having complementary skills and a common vision, we decided to pursue a startup career and since then have been working for three years together. By now NÜWIEL brings together 12 individuals from 7 different countries including Germany, Pakistan, Russia, USA, South Africa, Spain and Iran.
In the Photo: The electric trailer moving indoor. Photo Credit: NÜWIEL
Can you explain what are the most relevant features of NÜWIEL trailer?
Natalia Tomiyama: The NÜWIEL-trailer is an emission-free mobility solution for urban areas, which enables package delivery companies, food retailers and even private people to move anything by bike. It is the first electric and intelligent cargo trailer. Our patented technology enables the trailer to accelerate, decelerate and brake automatically with the bike. A cyclist doesn’t have to make any additional effort and yet can carry up to 150kg without noticing it. The trailer can be connected to any bike, electric bike and even a cargo-bike within seconds. Disconnected from a bike, it can be used as electric handcart for indoors and in pedestrian areas.
What is your opinion regarding sustainable mobility in future cities? What role your company could potentially play?
Natalia Tomiyama: With urbanization and increasing digitalization, more people will be living in cities and more things will be ordered online and delivered to our homes. Today, urban freight mobility already contributes up to 21% of all CO2 emissions. This is not only significantly contributing to climate change but is also negatively affecting public health, as 70% of the cancerous and other dangerous substances are caused by traffic emissions.
For us, future cities are “green cities” and future mobility is not only a synonym to “electric” but also “efficient”. With the NÜWIEL-trailer, we want to empower as many people as possible to be able to move anything by the most sustainable yet practical urban vehicle, the bicycle.
In the Photo: The trailer connected to a bike on the streets. Photo Credit: NÜWIEL
When would it be possible to see your trailer on the streets the cities around the world?
Natalia Tomiyama: The first NÜWIEL-trailers are designed for the last-mile package delivery in urban areas. We have been already testing the earlier prototypes with logistics companies in Germany (Hamburg, Berlin) and Austria.
This May we are happy to announce that we are also testing our trailers in a centrally located IKEA store in Hamburg-Altona. IKEA customers can rent the NÜWIEL-trailer and cycle their shopping home by their own bikes and our trailers. Our collaboration with IKEA began last year from the IKEA Bootcamp with a goal of co-creating a better everyday life for many people.
Where do you see your company in the next couple of years?
Natalia Tomiyama: Today we work with logistics and retail companies but we also want to make the NÜWIEL-trailer accessible by private users. Because even one NÜWIEL-trailer running 72km a day substitutes 6.300 km of the motor vehicle and saves up to 2.000 t of CO2 emissions per year. This is our contribution to more sustainable and resilient cities that we’ll share with every NÜWIEL-user.