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Monday
Dec162013

Production Update: ODK 3.0 Working Overtime

All of the various parts are arriving at the assembly factory. We don’t waste any time taking them down to the lab for testing. The checks are to verify that the parts arriving from suppliers meet the correct specifications. We are going seven days a week and overtime for 6 of those days to fill the pre-orders. The first few production units are undergoing some road test. The bikes will be assembled relatively slowly for the first few production runs. Here is a long overdue update:

V3 production frames hit the gym

The frames arrive from the frame supplier. Units from the frame batch are immediately taken to the gym for measurement and load testing. We perform the bicycle standard test at 75 kg (165 lbs) and also a test at 150kg (330 lbs) intended for scooters. The test simulates years of use. We can monitor the frame quality as the production ramps up.

The custom designed handle bars work up a sweat.  

 

The road most traveled

The wheels are tested over a 1cm bump surface with a 64 kg (141 lbs) load over a single axle. We can test various wheel configration to determine the strongest combination. This test takes all night to run, then we re-check the tension of each spoke.

 

Merry go round

The frames and forks take a few trips on the partially automated painting system. The frames can take up to 5 trips through paint booth and the oven depending on the color. The logos are applied just before the final coat of paint. The frame is still warm as we assemble the first few units for production-bike road testing.

 

Thinking inside the box 

The new shipping boxes arrive. The new “7-layer” boxes are much stronger. The bikes will ship assembled and nearly ready to run after a battery charge. The individual battery shipping box is also improved. 

 

Meanwhile

We also find some time to experiment with some prototype parts.The new mounting system provides exciting opportunities for new accessories. The custom front basket is still under development. The prototypes are powder-coated and fitted to the bike. The basket is attached with four 8mm screws. 

Because the basket mounts directly to the frame, the ride is super stable when loaded. We did some destructive test on the basket and continuously work to improve the design. The goal is to find the best balance between weight, strength and style. The basket should be ready in the spring. 

 

Unlike other frame mounted baskets, the ODK V3 accessory mount does not puncture the downtube which can significantly reduce lifespan of the frame. 

 

A battery of tests

The new V3 pack (right) is nearly the same size as the V2’s but around 45% more energy capacity. It makes better use of the available space, while maintaining backwards-compatibility with V2 bikes. We settled on the Samsung 18650 cell which gives us a good balance between performance, cost and availability. The case needed to be totally re-tooled to fit the new cells. The charge and discharge ports are moved to the same side. An illuminated switch with improved waterproofing is now used. There are two fuses for improved reliability. The aesthetics have been refreshed, including a darker color.  

A normal battery load test runs at 10 Amps, but we blast the V3’s pack at 20A (about 1000 Watts) continuously until it is depleted. This test would empty a normal e-bike battery in less than 20 minutes. The new pack can sustain this rate for about an hour before the battery management system steps in to protect the pack. However, the controller will limit this situation from occurring when the pack is used on the E-bike. 

 

The pack gets a hour-long shower to verify the water resistance.    

 

Motor and electronics

Some motors are pulled for dyno testing. We can determine how consistent the motors are from batch to batch. 

Some special test are conducted to push the limits of the system. Do not try this at home!