Wednesday, June 30, 2010

3rd class

Class three: 06.29.10

Class III started out with a bang. Luke Elrath form Advanced Sports International came in from Philly to talk e-bikes. Luke is an extremely knowledgeable engineer with the unique talent of taking complex systems and verbalizing them in ways that are detailed yet very easy to understand. If anyone ever needs a technical person to talk to e-bikes to greenhorns, Luke is your man.

To start out Luke gave an overview of the e-bike anatomy. This quickly broke into detailed questions about componentry and how the systems actually work and more importantly how to make them work efficiently. Our students are not shy to raise their hands and are natural sponges for information. This open forum was perfect and went on for some time. The presentation and Q&A free for all lasted the better part of an hour and a half. I didn’t expect it to go that long, but questions kept coming and topics became more and more interesting. In the end Luke commented at the sophistication of the questions and was impressed by overall students enthusiasm.

Once the presentation/ talk was completed (Luke had no visuals…..didn’t need them to I guess it was a talk) the students gathered in their teams and put some of this new gained knowledge to work. Before long Luke and a couple of the teams got into deep discussions relating to price structure and strategy. At one point student James Sloss and Luke got into a discussion focusing on overall market strategies that drew over half the classes attention.

Our teams are really starting to understand their particular market segments and quickly gaining knowledge that is bringing them to a high level of understanding. Next Tuesday we present research then off to conceptualization.

2nd Class

Class two: 06.24.10

Today we had a guest speaker Bryan Hallez UC student and the UC Nuclear Renaissance President. Along with Bryan’s studies he is an expert at converting regular bicycles to electric assist. He gave the class his methods to conversion and insights on where he sees this hybrid system going. His bikes can be see at Bryan is a true visionary in the area of power assisted bicycles and we are proud to have him a student at UC.

After the presentation students assembled in their groups to begin the projects research phase. The market segments we are targeting in are as follows

Regular folks: Most see the E bike as an “auto alternative” for short tripping and light errands, thus saving money on gas and being “independent” from their cars”…. Just seem like “regular folks” as most of these sales are mass market (applies to lower end WM & Best Buy Currie bikes)

Baby Boomers

Some are older / active or need the additional power for hills during light recreation – they just want fun / recreation / fresh air. Older folks want step-thru frames for ease of entry. & still see E bike use as some of positive light exercise (applies to eZee, Hebb, Eco, Pedego)…some comments say they are “enjoying the freedom that e power assist brings”

Urban / Commuters
User may not own a car, don’t want to sweat on way to work or school, (some are more fashion oriented i.e. A2B, E Road, Pedego, & some are pure function i.e. eZee users)….

Greenies / Environmental activists
Just a few want to make an environmental / carbon footprint statement by not using a car or other form of petroleum powered transport

Could buy a very expensive e bike because it’s a cool thing to own (i.e. Optibike, Cherry Pi) Note: a recent trip to Pi Mobility showed they were building several custom models for the Marin County Elite set.

Monday, June 28, 2010

UC e-bike studio: 1st class

Hi Everyone this is the initial post on our e-bike project,
We kicked off the class yesterday and it went extremely well. I went over some basic ground rules for the studio and how we would structure the development. Once that was completed Bill Ropp gave a very thorough overview of the e-bike market and current players. Bill thought this would put the students to sleep but only a few head bobers could be found. From there I had the students put together the bike samples Fuji sent us. This was great, I had those who had never worked with bikes do all the hands on stuff and those who had supervised. It all went well and the students are pumped about the project.

One thing I would ask of you all. We are currently in a research phase and I have asked each student to interview 5 people who are cyclist or not but would like to become more active. If any of you know anyone who would be willing to participate as a research subject please give them my contact info and I will pass it along to the appropiat team.

Thanks again