Good design is important – no matter if you are an hardware engineer, software developer fashion designer or marketing manager. But what is good design? Especially in the field of product design it’s about much more than just an amazing look. Design has to convince, has to offer an added value and enhanced functionality. This is highly important especially for technology startups which have to convince their customers with their first products as they have no reputation to build up on.
Since 1955 the design centre of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany awards products with an outstandingly innovative design with its annual Red Dot Award. In order to award the balance of technology and style the jury evaluates formal quality, functionality and ecological compatibility of products from a diverse field of companies from car manufacturers to fashion designers.
Among this year’s winners is RELO, a startup developing innovative electric plug drives for bicycles (we reported before here). Max Bauer, one of RELO’s more than 20 developers states “From the first moment on we have been thinking about how we can provide the greatest benefit to the end user”.
RELO proves this statement easily as the company’s name is derived from the product’s shape, the so called Reuleaux triangle. “Of course it has a high recognition value, but what is even more important is the fact, that you can hold it better in your hands when plugging the motor or battery in or out than a circular shape”, says Philipp Nagler, founder of RELO. Another benefit of the shape is that more battery cells can be integrated.
Another distinctive design feature is the bayonet look which eliminates the need for cables and thus improves the usability even further as the motor and battery can easily be plugged in or out with one single hand move. The design also integrates room for a free wheel in the gearbox which allows RELO owners to use their bikes electrified or as a usual bicycle, depending on their current needs.
However the major focus was set on presenting a truly technical product as Nagler explains “For example, if your bike has a good suspension there is no reason to hide it. And it’s just the same with our drive. It’s a technical look and that’s what we see as a real strength”.
Through the application of high-tech materials such as magnesium and aluminium the plug drive offers more than just style as it is very robust and lightweight.
Currently 30 employees work on further developments and the production of the drive within the RELO headquarters in Nürnberg, Germany. With the summer waiting at our doorstep it might be a great idea to give them some more work and order your own high-tech RELO drive.