- PiMobility // more
Founded in 2000 by CEO, Marcus Hays, PiMobility is headquartered in Sausalito, CA. The company is driven by the belief that “The electric bike would be a singular tool in enabling us to move away from our dependency on automobiles." PiMobility is a participant in the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program, which supports early-stage clean technology companies with design and engineering software they can use to accelerate their development of solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.
Why make a bicycle for sustainability if it will only find its way to the landfill after a few years of use? The PiMobility perspective is that the longer a product will last is a key factor in making it more sustainable. Hence PiMobility used recycled aluminum for its bicycle rather than more brittle and less reliable plastic. Aluminum also better protects battery and electronic components from the elements and dissipates heat more efficiently than plastic.
When one first looks at the PiCycle, the first thing one notices is its unique looking frame. The frame is the key to this bicycle. Due to an automated process and the simplicity of its shape, PiMobility can form one of these frame tubes in about 30 seconds. Thanks to the less labor-intensive design of the single tube, PiMobility has been able to maintain production in the United States and still be profitable. The tubular frame houses the lithium batteries.
The Autodesk software involved:
After only three weeks, the PiMobility design team produced a 3D digital prototype using Autodesk Inventor. The original design called for a 4” tube diameter that required them to source of a special battery pack to fit that form factor. The 4” diameter spec was originally based on Hays’ aesthetic intuition that this would be the widest tube that would be comfortable for the rider. Using Inventor, the designers were able to analyze the ergonomics of a 4.5" tube and validated that it would work in the design. This freed them up to procure off-the-shelf batteries resulting in significant costs savings. By increasing the diameter of the tube by a half of an inch, they could immediately save $360,000.
You can peddle the PiCycle like a normal bicycle, peddle with powered assistance, or sit back, relax, and let the electricity do all of the work (top speed of 20 mph on a flat surface). The recharge time for the PiCycle is 3.5 hours and costs about $0.07 cents to charge. It weighs ~50 pounds. There will be an option to add Wi-Fi-based "Pi-Q" Smart Phone Interface, which sends data about the PiCycle’s performance (e.g., speed, distance, range, charge level, efficiency) to its rider’s phone. They will be available for purchase at Best Buy in Spring 2011 with a MSRP of $2,995.
Thanks to Autodesk Senior Marketing Manager, Kimberly Whinna, for the information contained in this blog posting. The gallery at One Market is open to the public on Wednesdays from 12 pm to 5 pm, and admission is free. Visit us.
Riding a surge of savings is alive in the lab.