TUESDAY, APRIL 8, 2014 AT 1:37PM
Taking flight: As we move toward larger production volumes, every little detail becomes critical. There is a lot of coordination needed with our suppliers so the final product can go together smoothly. But the first step: Get on the flying bus...
Back in the office: My remote desk at Luyuan Electric Vehicle Factory one of China's top e-bike makers.
Luyuan E-Vehicle Factory Museum: The bike that started it all. This one was made around 1997. Our U500 is fundamentally very similar. Now Luyuan pumps out nearly 2 million e-bikes yearly.
Obsessing over every detail.
Long meetings to discuss how we can optimize our production. We work to find the bottlenecks that slow down assembly.
Testing out some prototype accessories and dreaming up some new ones...
We hit the road to visit some suppliers.
A visit to one of our battery suppliers. They are the second largest battery maker in China. They also manufacture roughly half of all the batteries for Apple’s iPad... that part of the facility is strictly off limits.
This is a super clean facility with lots of automated equipment for creating the BMS and packing the battery cells. Unfortunately, some parts could not be photographed.
The Lithium 18650- sized cells come from Samsung with slight variations. For maximum performance and reliability, cells need to be carefully matched to make a single battery pack. This machine automatically measures and groups cells together.
The internal bracket system keeps the cells in place and also helps to keep them cool. The U500’s relatively large battery pack is not easy to make. One U500 battery uses 3 to 4 times as many cells as a normal e-bike. Each battery has over 100 cells. We demand the best.
On the road again: It is best to stay well away from this monster.
Tianjing E-Bike show is a good sized event. It is something like a Chinese Interbike, but almost all e-bikes and mini cars ...and loud pumping music.
Luyuan's super booth. Wall-to-Wall LCD this year.
The booth has a "outer-space" theme complete with Tron-like outfits.
Walking the floor: Even Honda brands some e-bikes. The Asian, mainly Chinese e-bike market is huge and insanely competitive. It is also very reginal and localized.
Giant's Momentum sub-brand: A nice looking bike designed to transport a hot cup of gourmet coffee back to your studio apartment.
Finally some down time. Tianjing’s answer to Shanghai’s Nianjing road. The sky is hazy from smog, but soon China will take the lead in the whole "green" movement.