A version of this article ran in the June issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.
BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. (BRAIN) — Dylan Schemel knew there had to be more to life than the daily grind as a civil engineer in Miami after graduation. A subsequent 10-year stint as a FedEx distribution center manager also proved unfulfilling. With the former motocross racer at a crossroads professionally, it was a desperate friend with a bike in need of a tune that helped him find his true calling.
From that simple repair, Schemel, 40, eventually would start Pisgah Bike Works, a carbon fiber frame manufacturer based out of a small space among up-and-coming retailers comprising the new WNC Outdoor Collective. Finding a permanent home among other entrepreneurs in the heart of Black Mountain at the foot of the Pisgah National Forest caps a frenetic past 18 months. Schemel quit the FedEx job in December 2019 only to enter a market gutted by the growing COVID-19 pandemic in the spring.
“When I left FedEx, I was afraid of getting back into a job that I was unhappy with,” said Schemel while at his shop in late April amid bikes needing repairs and new Pisgah Bike Works frames in various states of build. “I applied to hundreds of openings, and there was nothing. So a buddy of mine comes by and says, ‘I just went to a shop and told me it would be seven weeks before I could get a tuneup.’ He had a brand new bike and it wasn’t shifting right. This was June 2020.”
Building a client base
And that has proven to be the beginning of a new career opportunity and excitement Schemel hadn’t felt since he was an up-and-coming motocross racer. While performing repairs from his garage last summer, he expanded his knowledge and service by taking a one-day wheel-building class at Asheville Bicycle Institute. Through word of mouth and some Facebook postings — not to mention long wait times at local bike shops — Schemel began building a client base.
“I felt like I was never going to do something that I’m really passionate about and love,” he said.
Schemel’s passion and a potential career revolved around motocross in Florida in the 1990s and early 2000s. Beginning racing at age 7 and moving up in the amateur ranks eventually to the 250cc class at age 20, he suffered a serious accident during practice on a triple jump.
Hitting his neck against the handlebar, he cracked his trachea. “I was lucky. The doctor said he never saw an accident like that. He didn’t know how I wasn’t paralyzed.”
After spending two weeks in intensive care, Schemel’s doctor told him he might not speak again because of vocal cord damage. He did regain nearly full use of his voice. “My kids love it because I can’t scream,” said Schemel, laughing.
The accident ended the professional motocross dream and led Schemel to dabble in cross-country mountain bike racing and eventually to college
BERLIN — Audi will end development of new internal combustion engine models by the end of 2026 and focus solely on full-electric drivetrains, German media reports said.
After 2026, the automaker will only develop battery-powered models, according to Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe, and a report in German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung
The decision was announced by Audi CEO Markus Duesmann at a management meeting at the automaker’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, on Thursday, according to the reports, which cited company sources.
Although Audi plans to stop production of new gasoline, diesel and hybrid cars, its new models launched by 2026 will continue to be built and sold until the early 2030s. After that time, Audi will become a purely electric car maker.
According to Automobilwoche, the A3 and A4 will not have combustion-engine successors but will be replaced by the battery-powered A3 e-tron and A4 e-tron. The electric evolution of Audi’s A5 and A6 models will follow a similar timetable, German industry paper Handelsblatt said.
The last internal combustion engine model built by Audi will likely be the Q8, which will launch in 2026 alongside an electric variant, the Q8 e-tron. The internal combustion engine Q8 will then be produced until 2032, Handelsblatt said, citing unnamed sources within Audi.
In April, Audi announced plans to sell the A6 e-tron full-electric car alongside the standard A6 internal combustion engine models when it goes on sale in early 2023. An A6 e-tron concept unveiled at the Shanghai auto show in April has a 100-kilowatt-hour battery that will allow a range of over 700 km (435 miles) in production form.
It will be Audi’s second vehicle built on the PPE (premium platform electric) architecture developed with Porsche, following the Q6 e-tron large SUV due to be launched in the second half of 2022.
Audi plans to expand its full-electric lineup to 20 models globally by 2025, Duesmann said in March. Audi and Volkswagen Group sister brand Porsche plan to sell 7 million cars based on the PPE platform by 2030.
Audi’s current full-electric cars are the e-tron, e-tron Sportback and e-tron GT. The e-tron and e-tron Sportback are based on Audi’s MLB Evo platform while the e-tron GT shares its J1 platform with the Porsche Taycan.
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Isaac R. Braun |
November 18, 2019
Photo: Porsche Cars North America, Inc. l Kia Motors America l Fiat Chrysler Automobiles l Mazda North American Operations
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