We had a great time at the 2008 VEVA REV! show last weekend and were glad to see many familiar names and faces. For those who missed it and those who want more, we are going to be hosting a Car Free Vehicle Show this coming Sunday on June 15th. The event will take place from 4pm onwards and we will have the whole block of Main St. between 15th and 16th for people to demonstrate and test ride all kinds of electric and pedal powered vehicles. This is an opportunity for us in the ebike community to show to the rest of Vancouver what a getting around in a less car-dependent future might look like. We'll be bringing a nice fleet of electric rides including the recently built cargo trike, side-by-side tandem, and self balancing skateboards shown below.
In addition though, we want any and everyone in the area who was built their own ebike contraption to come out as well and demonstrate to the public what these things can do. There are so many innovative and unique vehicles that we've seen our customers build and this will be a perfect opportunity for us to get together and showcase this technology. You can come by any time in the afternoon and stay as long as you like. However, there is also a need for formal volunteers who will help out to man the barricades on all the side streets and explain to oncoming traffic what is going on, so if you have interest in helping out at this level then please drop us a line as soon as possible.
There was an unfortunate issue that affected a number of the motor controllers that came with the recent batch of eZee conversion kits. Due to a low tolerance thermistor, some of the controllers were prone to entering an erroneous thermal shutdown after a short while of use even when the controllers were not actually overheating. This problem would be especially acute for people running at 48V. It has been fully resolved with the controller manufacturer. If you purchased an eZee kit and had a controller that shut down and entered a state of flashing 2 times, then 3 times, please let us know. We will have a replacement controller shipped out right away.
At the time we decided to sell the 12Ah LiFePO4 battery packs this spring we made mention that there was a possibility that even though there were balanced and delivering capacity when we shipped them, that there was a chance that over time the packs would come unbalanced. Well it turns out that even though a number of the packs have been performing well, there are indeed quite a few that are gradually going down in available capacity because of inadequate cell balancing from the BMS circuit. We have been working very hard to try and get an improved replacement BMS circuit for these packs, and it looks like that will finally be coming toward the end of August.
How much energy does it take to get transported from one side of Canada to the other? We'll find out soon enough. Justin is currently in Victoria and is about to set off on a trans-Canada trip by electric bicycle. With over a kilowatt hour of lithium batteries, some fast chargers, and an Xtracycle-come-semi-recumbent bike, he's leaving equipped to do it fast and in comfort. The plan is to make it to Halifax, in about 6 week's time, monitoring the electric power consumed along the way with a goal doing the whole trip with less than ten dollars worth of electricity.
Not only will this be a great opportunity to showcase the energy efficiency of electric bikes compared to almost all other modes, it will also be a chance to meet up with you, the ebike enthusiasts all over this country. There are just so many interesting people to see and stories to hear about these very early stages of electric bicycle adoption, and Justin hopes to meet up with as many of you as he can along the way, (especially if you'll spare an outlet for a few hours!).
For more information, see the following discussion thread on the endless-sphere forum:
Many people are forever cynical about politics, but this past year the provincial government of BC has taken three actions which are enormously positive to our cause. Firstly, they have instituted the first carbon tax of its kind in North America, putting a long overdue price on CO2 emissions. Secondly, in April they eliminated sales tax on electric bicycles and ebike parts to encourage their sale as a viable green transportation choice. And thirdly, just this past week, they handed out $100 cheques to every citizen in BC to encourage us to make investments that will reduce our environmental footprint. Well, for most people who commute by car or diesel transit there is no single better way to slash your CO2 emissions than to travel by ebike. From now until the end of June, we will match Gordon Campbell's $100 green cheque for anyone in BC who purchases a complete (motor + controller + battery) electric bicycle setup from us. That's $200 total savings for your first ebike conversion.
Note, we were delighted by the amount of interest that our local customers had in this promotion, but the offer has now expired.
The store is open again and we are picking up the shipments of eZee kits, NiCad batteries, and rear Crystalyte motors over the next couple days. But because of our heavy involvement in preparing and organizing the event this Sunday we will probably not start taking online orders and shipping these goods until after the weekend. When they are showing up as available in our store site then that is the cue that we are ready for orders.
June 12th Update - Both the eZee kits and the Crysalyte parts are online and available now. The NiCad batteries won't get listed until after our discharge testing is underway next week.
We know it may have been frustrating for customers trying to order complete ebike systems from us over the past few months. Things are available then suddenly sold out, and there might be the right motor but no controller, or the right controller but no suitable battery, can't these guys just get it right and keep things in stock? Well, the answer is yes and no. With some items like battery packs it can often take up to 6 months from when we place an order to when it is received and fully tested, and it is hard to know just where things will stand so far in the future with all the recent advances in battery chemistries and the volatile pricing of raw materials. We will do our best with dependable standby's like the venerable NiCad batteries to keep them in stock from now on, though newer stuff like the lithium iron phosphates packs may come and go on a case by case basis until the technology is sound.
However, for other items like the Crystalyte motors and controllers, we have reached a point where if we sold any more we would not be able to offer the same level of support and troubleshooting service to our customers that we are committed to providing. Rather than getting stretched thin, we are only ordering as many of these parts per month as we are comfortable selling. The troubleshooting section of our website was recently updated to include a list of all the more common problems we've encountered with the Crystalyte product line, and it should help explain why we aren't planning to increase our volume even though the demand for these is quite strong.
June is Bike Month here in Vancouver, a time where we can celebrate that cycling is catching on in ways that few people would have imagined 10 years ago. We are participitating in many events throughout the city and would love to see some of you in the ebike community take part as well. These include the VEVA REV! show on June 7th, the Car Free Day on June 15th which has now expanded to include Main Street. We'll be giving the monthly VEVA talk on the 22nd and holding the first electric bicycle conversion workshop in at the new Pedal Depot facility in the last week of June. More information on all of these activities has been put on the events page.
We will be shutting down the online store site from May 26th to June 6th, until our new shipments of battery packs and hub motors arrive in early June and we have a full inventory of parts again. There are exceptions if you want a motor type that we have in stock (e.g. 20" 405, 20" 5203, 16"404) or for the purchase of CycleAnalysts. Otherwise though, it will be best to just hold tight. We don't take advanced payments or pre-orders on parts until we actually have them on hand and ready to ship.