Dutch BEAT Cycling first to follow the race fully electric

They were already popping up sporadically behind the peloton, but now the Dutch BEAT Cycling dares to be the first cycling team to switch to all-electric cars to follow the racing cyclists.

“This is not a little experiment,” says team manager Geert Broekhuizen in the Dutch newspaper Trouw. “We don’t have a backup plan. Better to stand by the side of the road with a flat battery once during a race than never try to change.”

The new cycling season is coming up with the spring classics. And while cycling may be a very eco-friendly sport, the caravan of cars accompanying the peloton also generates a lot of CO2 emissions. Consequently, cycling can be made more environmentally friendly – think of the bidons that are now compulsorily discarded in drop zones – but also by making the car fleet more sustainable.

Three years ago, the Artic Race of Norway chose to be the first cycling race in the world to deploy 46 electric following cars – long dismissed as taboo because the batteries would not have the range and there are not enough charging stations everywhere along the course.

The English Saint-Piran team also has a hybrid fleet of cars. The French Tour organization Aso drove electric at some stages in the Tour de France, just as some professional teams occasionally use electric team cars. But now the Dutch BEAT Cycling is thus venturing the ‘crossing’ with four BYD Atto 3 electric cars, a car with a 420 km range.

Sustainability policy

A sustainability policy is already in place at BEAT Cycling, founded in 2016. For example, clothing is made from recycled materials, energy comes from solar panels, and the team uses biodegradable bidons.

With the four BYD e-cars – BYD is China’s biggest EV carmaker and the world’s leader in EV sales – it now can participate at the continental level, the third level in professional cycling. They are on the starting list at the Scheldeprijs in Antwerp, the ZLM tour in the southern Netherlands and Belgium, the Belgium tour, and the Ster van Zwolle, where Saturday, the team will use the e-cars for the first time in a race.

Neatly arranged program

According to team manager Geert Broekhuizen, BEAT Cycling can do this because they have a neatly arranged program in the Benelux. “The big teams have quite a challenge logistically. They sometimes ride in three places at once. It is true that now and then, we must skip a race because it is not convenient from a loading point of view. Fortunately, we have found nice replacement races for that.”

Erik Bronsvoort, who tries to promote sustainability in cycling with his non-profit organization Shift Cycling Culture, is already applauding the initiative. “The initiative has to come from the teams because, right now, there are few rules from the international cycling union UCI. That BEAT is doing this is super cool, though. And if many teams take steps, sustainability goes faster.”


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