Dear PodRide Supporter,
Time for another update on PodRide’s development. We’re happy to report that we’re making good progress.
In April we mentioned that we had brought on a new team member in Mike Singleton whose mandate was to reduce the number of components, complexity, cost and weight of PodRide. We also mentioned that he was making good progress in these areas.
We have essentially completed the design simplification of PodRide’s core chassis and other components such as steering etc., required to put together a working “rolling chassis”. In the new design the weight of these items has been reduced by 50%, and due to reduced number of components and manufacturing processes, we expect that associated costs will also be reduced.
Since our last update, we’ve also added James to the PodRide team. James is a highly skilled engineer with automotive and extensive Finite Element Analysis (FEA) experience.
James has spent several weeks performing many different computer simulations to stress test PodRide to determine any points of concern. One of the tests simulates a fully loaded PodRide, with passenger and cargo total combined weight of 230 kgs, allowing 60kgs for PodRide itself) hitting a 5cm bump over 750,000 times to determine if and where the frame may suffer fatigue cracking over time. PodRide did very well with this and other simulations, requiring only a few minor changes to the design to further strengthen the chassis.
In other news, we’ve raised additional investment in PodRide which will allow us to dive straight in to prototyping! We are now working with our frame builder to develop a number of prototype chassis that will allow us to build some rolling chassis prototypes. With these prototypes we will perform real world testing, lab testing and further development of the other components for the upper body, canopy etc.
We still need to raise further investment to get through to production and release, so if you are, or you know someone that is a qualified investor that can invest a minimum of €50,000, please let them know about PodRide and have them contact us at email@example.com for more details. Our CEO David is speaking with potential investors to present the PodRide investment opportunity.
We are getting closer to being at a point where we can put together a new Bill of Materials that we can be confident in. Once we have this finalized we will be able to provide some pricing details on PodRide. It’s worth noting that there will be a range of pricing, as we are going to offer PodRide in a number of different configurations, including with and without motor, and with and without upper body. We even plan to offer PodRide in a raw rolling chassis version so that 3rd party companies (or individuals) can use PodRide as a platform to build their own cabin or other product extrapolations from the core PodRide platform.
A COUPLE OF OTHER THINGS (SOMEWHAT TECHNICAL)…
Some of you may spot in the image below of the rolling chassis that we have removed the mid-drive motor from the design and instead put a hub motor in the drive train between the pedals and the gearbox. This allowed us to reduce the “Q factor” (this is the distance between the pedal attachment points on the crank arms, when measured parallel to the bottom bracket axle). This change allowed us to provide more foot room to make pedalling more comfortable. (Whilst in a regular open quad or trike there are usually no problems, space is at a premium inside a velomobile.)
Another change that we made is that we put a connection plate where the rear end of PodRide (which essentially comprises the rear swingarm/axle, suspension and the cargo support section) connects to the front section of PodRide. This modification provides us with more flexibility for the future to relatively simply and cost effectively create a longer wheelbase version of PodRide later for a full 2 seater or Cargo PodRide version.
The model here shows what the core rolling chassis prototypes will look like. (Note this does not show any of the framework required for the upper or lower body that gives PodRide it’s weather protection and unique style.
PLEASE NOTE: Whilst we have completely redesigned the underlying chassis and other components of PodRide, when the full body is fitted to PodRide it will look very similar to the original PodRide, but will be a far better vehicle in so many, many ways.
The image below is taken from our FEA report and it shows the cargo and rear section of PodRide, after running a simulation of PodRide (fully laden) encountering 750,000 shock cycles over a 5cm bump in the road. The industry standard test is for a 1cm bump in the road, we increased that by 500%, and as can be clearly seen in the image, PodRide is well engineered to cope with such stress. Our next update should show you some prototypes in the real world.
We want to thank you again for your ongoing support. We’re continuing to move forward, and we’re building a better and more affordable PodRide.