Well I've been dropping a few hints on the forum lately about the bike that I and my business partners are currently working on. Things are progressing well - we are doing the design and engineering here in the USA. We will also be assembling here in the US. All of the key players in the company so far are motorcyclists so we know 2 wheel transportation very well. We also have good experience in the electronics and EV field. One of our current team members was building VW Rabbits in the 80's (about 200 were sold) - they were the only crash tested EV's on the road at the time. Another team member has run a successful electronics business for around 10 years.
Although there is still a LONG WAY to go before we finish we wanted to let you know a little bit about what we're working on. There are more choices for "maxi-scooter" sized electric bikes coming onto the market - which is a good thing. In essence our bike should be "better" than the current Chinese imports but cost about the same. It will be less expensive than a Vectrix but should compare well for features and performance.
Here are some "specs" - but remember this is all subject to change:
|NAME:||rEV 1 or rEV Maxi|
|MOTOR:||a hub motor in the 4.5kW to 6kW range|
|CONTROLLER:||a programmable controller (subject to warranty restrictions)|
|BATTERIES:||24X60Ah LFP batteries (possibly other combinations as well)|
|SPEED:||At least 50+mph two up on the flat, possibly 55+|
|ACCELERATION||acceleration will be "brisk" (i.e. we won't sacrifice acceleration for an attention grabbing higher top speed)|
|REGEN BRAKES:||possibly, if so likely to be proportionally controlled via rear brake lever|
|REVERSE:||possibly a single speed reverse (press a button and inch backwards to help with maneuvering or backing uphill)|
|BMS:||a custom designed BMS which will balance individual cells and operate on both the charge and discharge cycles|
|CHARGER:||possibly a smart on board charger that interfaces with the BMS - otherwise stanard off-board charger|
|INSTRUMENTS:||accurate speedo (!) plus a smart fuel gauge (instead of a simple (and not very useful) volt meter)|
|STYLE/FRAME:||a scooter that has a lower seat height and better ergonomics but larger, sturdier frame with more storage than the XM and EVD models|
|QUALITY:||made in the USA - final assembly and final quality assurance in the USA (will come with a North American VIN number - we have our WMI issued to us by the SAE)|
|SAFETY:||FMVSS certification will be performed in the USA by a DOT/NHTSA approved facility|
|PRICE:||TBD - but will be competitive with current competition and the battery pack is greater than 4kWh so the bike should qualify for a $2000 tax rebate|
|AVAILABILITY:||TBD - no promises yet - but as early in the 2009 riding season as we can possibly manage! We will be building these bikes in batches of 30.|
I encourage you to feel free to comment on the specs above and tell us what you like and don't like. Also, let us know if you have any "must have" ideas - I don't know if we can incorporate them or not - but there may be some stuff we can do (we won't know if you don't tell us!)
Current status: this is definitely NOT just a paper exercise. We have many hours and many of our own dollars invested at this point. All our feasability and supply choices have been addressed. Next big hurdle is FMVSS certification. When we get that (won't be until at least February or March of 2009) - then it's all systems go!
If you do nothing else please wish us luck!
p.s. in case you're rolling your eyes and thinking "great, another promise of the perfect bike coming 'real soon now'" - I apologize, I know how you feel and part of me wanted to avoid such an early announcement. However, the part that's really excited about what we're doing won me over ;)