SUPER73 takes sustainability beyond the E in e-bike

February 28, 2022
Interview

Interview with co-founder and head of sustainability, Alix Armour.

Launched in Orange County, CA in 2016, e-bike brand SUPER73 has seen a meteoric rise in the world of electric vehicles and micro-mobility. A-list celebs—everyone from Justin Bieber, Madonna, Will Smith, Post Malone—and cultural influencers like Casey Neistat are passionate SUPER73 riders. 

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Celebrity cool aside, the brand is sustainable by its very nature—e-bikes are more sustainable than traditional motorcycles—but it’s going the extra mile to do things sustainably behind the scenes as well.

We caught up with co-founder and head of sustainability at SUPER73, Alix Armour, to talk about the e-bike brand’s sustainability roadmap.

Two people riding SUPER73 e-bikes in the desert
Image courtesy, SUPER73

Sustain.Life: Could you tell us more about SUPER73 from the standpoint of the bikes bridging the gap between e-bikes and motorcycles?

Alix Armour: The reason our bikes look the way they are—they sort of look like motorcycles—is that we’re able to grab a market segment that would never get on a traditional bicycle. And it goes both ways—Gen Z and millennials who are adventurous and motorcycle-curious but might be intimidated by hopping on a real motorcycle get that sense of adventure from SUPER73. Plus, our bikes remind some people of their childhood. 

In Europe, our bikes have become popular as a fun way to commute or get around town and benefit from the recent rise in gas-powered vehicle bans.

Person wearing a helmet riding a SUPER73 e-bike on a European street
Image courtesy, SUPER73

SL: So obviously, outside the fact that your bikes create zero emissions during operation, what else does SUPER73 focus on from a sustainability standpoint?

A.A.: For us, battery recycling, diving into our supply chain, and packaging engineering are all very relevant as well as, tracking the emissions tied to our entire operation.

SL: How do you go about getting buy-in from your company to tackle these big projects?

A.A.: It’s about doing things—project-by-project—to prove the importance of sustainability while also focusing on improving quality and reducing costs. For many companies, SUPER73 included, you have to get your feet wet and ease into sustainability to help show the ROI. Even before creating a reduction strategy, if you can show how doing things sustainably can save money, you’re set. 

For example, I’m working on solving a packaging issue that is currently causing some bikes to arrive damaged. This packaging problem is not only costly due to returns and re-shipments of bikes but is also not great for the environment due to the extra packaging that must be used. If I can show that a sustainable packaging redesign saves money on material and prevents bikes from showing up damaged, it’s a win-win. 

SL: And how can you show that it’s saving money or material?

A.A.: It’s about keeping track with before and after and benchmarking.—if we have good metrics, before and after, I can make a case to the company. Plus, with Europe being more regulated than the U.S., having to keep track of the different materials and types of plastic means I’m more in touch with our supply chain

SUPER73 E-bike battery
Image courtesy, SUPER73


SL: What’s the best way to track sustainability metrics?

A.A.: Previously, my strategy was to do everything in spreadsheets, but I’ve been starting to use Sustain.Life. that has been a real game-changer. Sustain.Life is great for companies that want to get into sustainability but don’t know where to start, their step-by-step guides are so comprehensive and help validate that we’re doing the right thing.

SL: And what advice would you give for companies searching for the right sustainability tools?

A.A.: Lots of brands don’t have a role dedicated to sustainability, although it is increasingly more necessary each year. These companies need some sort of solution, whether that’s setting a foundation or corporate messaging or figuring out first steps and Sustain.Life can definitely help.

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The takeaway

• Battery recycling, supply chain, and packaging all top of mind for this e-bike company.