16 Pictures

Rolf Henniges (left) and Stefan Kachel (right). They have the same hairdresser but not the same opinion. Discussion topic: electromobility.


It’s like always. They disagree. Kaschel on the e-Schwalbe from efw-Suhl (electric motor) and Henniges on the Honda ANF 125 Innova (combustion engine).

"Did you actually lower the Innova, Henniges?"
"Nah, Kaschel, you’re just sitting on a high horse again".

“Look, Kaschel: This heap of renewable energy is burned somewhere so that the electricity for your e-Schwalbe comes from the socket. Clean energy? Ha!"
"Do you think oil wells and refineries are cleaner?"

The S-Bahn also runs on electricity.

"Look, Henniges: Not much longer, then the fuel price will be over two euros per liter."
"And, Kaschel, you really think they’re not raising the electricity price?"

Shopping made easy: the Innova as a daily companion.

A crowd puller: with the e-Schwalbe always in the spotlight.

Two mobility concepts in comparison: Honda ANF 125 Innova and the e-Schwalbe.

Two mobility concepts in comparison: Honda ANF 125 Innova and the e-Schwalbe.

Two mobility concepts in comparison: Honda ANF 125 Innova and the e-Schwalbe.

Two mobility concepts in comparison: Honda ANF 125 Innova and the e-Schwalbe.

Two mobility concepts in comparison: Honda ANF 125 Innova and the e-Schwalbe.

Two mobility concepts in comparison: Honda ANF 125 Innova and the e-Schwalbe.

Two mobility concepts in comparison: Honda ANF 125 Innova and the e-Schwalbe.

Two mobility concepts in comparison: Honda ANF 125 Innova and the e-Schwalbe.

Electric scooter against burners

E-swallow vs. Honda ANF 125 Innova

E-Schwalbe or Honda ANF 125 Innova? It’s like always. They don’t agree: The editors Stefan Kaschel and Rolf Henniges compare mobility concepts.

Hsome: That’s what I thought! If Kaschel doesn’t get any further with arguments, he picks up the color box. You barely stand together for two minutes and have to listen to at least ten times how modest the Innova looks in his opinion. By the way, my Innova! Because the little 125cc has been mine for four years. Out of a total of 52 motorcycles I’ve owned so far, this little Honda is my best buy. Drives 100 km / h, costs practically nothing to maintain, always starts and only needs 1.4 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers. Filling the 3.9 liter tank two to three times a year is enough to cover all short-distance trips. Shopping, fetching children from the after-school care center, courier trips. Now Kaschel is sitting on the prototype of a bright orange e-swallow and grinning like someone who has just received a huge raise. By the way, he could use it. Because while the Honda was new at the time for 1890 euros, you have to shell out around 5500 euros for the e-Schwalbe, which may come onto the market at some point.

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Electric scooter against burners
E-swallow vs. Honda ANF 125 Innova

The electricity has to come from somewhere

Henniges: Highest quantities worldwide? Right. With over 65 million copies, the Honda Cub is the world’s best-selling motor vehicle. Cub stands for Cheap Urban Bike. As far as exhaust gases are concerned: The first model in the Cub series – the Super Cub (49 cm³, 4 hp) from 1958 – had an economical four-stroke engine. The current one has a G-Kat, injection and shines with minimal consumption. And, Kaschel: Let’s assume that all vehicles in New Delhi would run on electricity instead of gasoline overnight, and assume again that there are enough sockets there for charging, then I don’t want to know how much the smog would condense. Because electricity has to come from somewhere to enable electric mobility. Nuclear power plants, hard coal power plants, lignite power plants, natural gas power plants … What these exhaust monsters blow into the atmosphere, just so that Kaschel can sneak through the district with his e-Schwalbe or another whisper sledge, doesn ‘ t go on a cow’s skin.

"Look, Henniges: Not much longer, then the fuel price will be over two euros per liter." "And, Kaschel, you really think they won’t increase the price of electricity?"

Kaschel: Henniges, when Bertha Benz chugged from Mannheim to Pforzheim, you would have been the first to turn off and grumble: I can do that just as quickly with my horse – and I can refuel at any meadow. You only have visions when you sit in front of your hut in the evening and smoke some kind of stuff. I think further. The time when electricity is generated from renewable energies. I’m just saying zero emissions. At the time when storage technology is even more compact and affordable. And I’m already looking forward to it when private traffic rushes by almost silently around my city apartment. And as for the sockets: I don’t know about you, but we have more than one in each room. You grab the Schwalbe’s batteries and charge them for five hours. Then you have a range of around 80 kilometers with two batteries. That’s enough for you, even if you drove twice a day to get beer, easily for a week.

Henniges: When was the last time you looked in your passport, Kaschel? When the time comes when city traffic rolls past your apartment window practically silently, i.e. powered by electricity, you can’t hear anything anyway. Hearing decreases in old age. It will take at least another 20 years before a systematic switch from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles has taken place. The history of batteries will probably not catch on anyway, because the drive of the future is the fuel cell. You don’t need to take them out and drag them in the evening. Anyway: Carrying two ten kilo battery blocks to the sixth floor every evening, that might be good for you and your belly, but do you really think everyone wants to do something like that? People are usually lazy. By the way: Renewable energies also mean renewable raw materials such as wood. The combustion produces CO2. In Germany, for example, CO2 emissions from the electricity sector reached more than 300 million tonnes in 2011 despite the expansion of renewable energies such as wind and solar power. Just imagine if the 52 million vehicles driving in Germany alone were converted from fuel to electricity – can you imagine how many new power plants that would require? But don’t think about the e-Schwalbe now, but also about the heavy goods traffic. I don’t want to know how many tons of batteries a forty-tonne truck has to lug around in order to get ahead at all. But no matter, now it is driving. Put your helmet on your lightbulb and give it a flame. Or whatever you call it. It’s no longer gas either.

Kaschel: No, give it power. Namely to the 4 kW motor, which delivers 140 Newton meters of torque via a low-noise toothed belt on pinion 35 and on the rear wheel. From the first turn on. It’s great every time the swallow just rolls away. As silently as in a science fiction film, it glides through the city, people smile because they like electro. With that you could rob yourself through pedestrian zones and nobody would get upset. And then at the traffic lights: heavenly peace, zero emissions and zero consumption. Your thing, on the other hand, is pestering and stinking. If at least it had sound. This engine is almost as embarrassing as the silly clutchless gearbox. It’s not a technical gimmick, dude, they just forgot the clutch. Or rationalized away. According to the motto “Must go like this”. Krrrrack, zabong. Gang is sitting, it works. This is yesterday’s technology.

Henniges: This is called semi-automatic and yesterday was the technology of tomorrow. Any dumbass in Asia can use the thing and won’t complain. Speaking of sound: It’s just part of it, because riding a motorcycle is sensual. It comes from beguiling the senses, you understand? Eyes, hands, nose and ears … Another thing that comes with the Innova: Its reputation for being almost indestructible is no accident. Regardless of whether you sit four or five people on it or screw a sidecar onto it and strap 50 gas bottles on it, the small 125 pulls the load. Without grumbling. But I like to let myself be convinced by the stream. Come on, let’s swap.


It’s like always. They disagree. Kaschel on the e-Schwalbe from efw-Suhl (electric motor) and Henniges on the Honda ANF 125 Innova (combustion engine).

Kaschel: Yes, yes, it always works like that. First “shit electro” and then: “May I too?” Looks nice, the swallow, right? It has had cult status for decades, just like the Vespa. I, on the other hand, should go to this bucket for the Asian market, aha! I didn’t know until now that Leinfelden belongs to the Asian market. But at least in terms of height, it could be true. Well, I’m going to stop. But the rocker switch, which every stupid can operate in Asia and Leinfelden-Echterdingen, I just can’t get to when I shift down with the hoe. There are 50 centimeters of thighs in the way. The swallow, on the other hand, is made for me. Brakes well, drives well, whispers to himself. Simply sympathetic through and through.

Henniges: No, they are not smaller there. But always more flexible. Especially in the foot area. But let’s leave that. Oh, the bench on this Orange is kind of hard and angular, not as comfortable as the Innova’s. She doesn’t have to. After 60 kilometers at the latest it’s over with full power anyway, huh. What is the switch doing here? Eco and Boost? Let’s start with Eco. Well, the acceleration doesn’t knock you off your feet. After what feels like ten seconds, the speedometer shows 60 km / h. Switch. Mmmh, now it feels like eight seconds, the acceleration is a bit more spontaneous. There comes the first climb. It’s uphill for a kilometer. Let’s see what the orange says about it, surprise! If you take off the "gas", the engine pushes uphill even further. You have to get used to it. And now: "Risk of motor overheating" flashes. After just 500 meters. What feels like an eight percent gradient. The performance is already reduced. How are you going to offer this box to the Austrians? There are practically only mountains. In situations like this, you can tie a few more trees behind the Innova, which will pull it up. No problem. Then the driving experience: the Schwalbe drives indifferently, does not steer neutrally and feels a hundredweight heavier than my Innova. And I miss feedback when braking. The front brake is good, but you never know when the wheel will lock. There is only one thing I agree with the -Kaschel: Silent sneaking through the city has something surreal about it. You can actually get used to it.

Kaschel: Not neutral? Feedback? Man, Henniges, there are Heidenau winter tires on it. And that’s not what this is about. It’s about visions. I know who has visions has to see a doctor. But now seriously: Such an e-Schwalbe is a pleasingly practical attempt to advance the topic. And it is not only halfway affordable to maintain – one filling for both batteries costs around 90 cents with green electricity – but also to purchase. I know your Innova is no more expensive with a liter and a half consumption per 100 kilometers. But that is at the end of a development, the swallow at the beginning. And if the Innova, like the Schwalbe, were a bit bigger and much, much fancier and didn’t have such cutting discs as tires, it would also need more gasoline. It does not have a USB interface either, which is what every modern city vehicle needs today. Well, now what?

Henniges: USB interface? I have three on my laptop. I’m just saying: As long as hydrogen technology is still in its infancy, the development of fuel-efficient engines should be promoted. And consistently. Especially in the automotive sector. If pure mobility were in the foreground, consumption monsters such as SUVs or sports cars would have to be banned. In terms of acquisition, production, economy and durability, there is currently nothing that a Honda Cub can beat. In terms of consumption, by the way: In 2006 someone drove 146 kilometers with a Super Cub on one liter of gasoline. This results in a consumption of 0.68 liters / 100 km. Only cycling is cheaper.


"Have you actually lowered the Innova, Henniges?" "No, Kaschel, you’re just sitting on a high horse again".

"So what now, Kaschel – gasoline or electricity?"

"Damn it, I see it. In terms of range, costs and suitability for everyday use, the Innova cannot hold a candle to any concept at the moment. But for me it’s not just about facts, it’s the idea. The future is electric in urban areas. "

"May be. But if you ban the SUVs and V8 engines from the cities of the world and instead drive every Innova, the electric future would begin much later here too. Or maybe never!"

"Stop doing that. If we Europeans don’t take decisive action, the rest of the world will use chemicals to extract the last bit of fossil energy from the earth – fracking, have you heard? – and don’t give a shit about global warming. The e-swallow is a small step. But a real one! "

Honda ANF 125 Innova

Shopping made easy: the Innova as a daily companion.

The end for Innova in Germany came back in 2012 after the machine had only been offered for four years. Severe flooding in Thailand, the country in which Innova was manufactured, paralyzed operations in 2011, and since then Honda has had the Honda Wave 110i, built in Vietnam and China, as a successor in its range. The 110 drive shines with even lower consumption, but it also has noticeably less flywheel mass and, with 8.5 HP, is somewhat weaker than the 9.2 HP of the 125. The Innova already has the cult factor on its side: examples with low mileage are traded between 1500 and 1900 euros. The Wave 110i is new for 1790 euros.


A crowd puller: with the e-Schwalbe always in the spotlight.

The history of the e-Schwalbe – like that of so many other electrical start-ups – has slightly dramatic traits that all follow the same script. A young company has a good idea, rushes into the project with energy, runs into technical difficulties – and in the end the money runs out because the investor (in this case Entega, a natural power subsidiary of HEAG Südhessische Energie AG) is in the Background of a better mind. Seen in this way, the efw-suhl (efw stands for electric vehicle works, the production facility is in Suhl, Thuringia) is still in relatively good shape. After all, there are several roadworthy prototypes (one of which drives in this story) that are fully functional and, apart from a few solvable difficulties (longer dropouts after hard heels, not yet full performance in the open version, chassis set-up) , work quite well. Two power variants with four and eight kW are planned, whereby the smaller variant (45 km / h, 5399 euros) comes as standard with a battery with 1.5 kilowatt hours and the faster variant (81 km / h, 6999 euros) with two batteries with a total of three kilowatt hours of storage capacity. Both can be upgraded to three batteries, the price for one battery is around 1000 euros.

For the big hit, namely production, efw-suhl ( now lacks a new investor. No matter whether plastic parts from Acerbis or batteries from the battery assembly center in Karlstein – everything has to be paid for. When a new donor is found, production can start. According to managing director Daniel Schmid, there are in any case numerous potential buyers after the past trade fair appearances.

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