After initially building a pilot electric motorcycle on a classic BMW R71 clone, ALYI engaged MODUS to bring the pilot into production and begin the design of future electric vehicle platforms.
Below is an overview from MODUS co-founder Maro Radenovic on their work with ALYI:
MODUS Applied Innovations
MODUS is a multi-disciplinary product development firm with a focus on strategic innovation, creative design, and precision engineering. Our areas of expertise range from consumer goods to transportation, aerospace to medical devices, and beyond. We are a new firm coming together contemporaneously with the ReVolt Electric Motorcycle initiative but bringing with us over 20 years of experience, more than 200 patentable claims and referenceable experience with many industry household brand names to include Malibu Boats, Peterbilt and Corning, to name only a few.
All on their own, ALYI piloted an electric motorcycle that in its first rendition was a BMW R71 clone retrofitted with an electric motor. The BMW R71 is a breathtaking iconic image popularized through decades of frequent Hollywood screen appearances in addition to the real engineering breakthroughs that maintain the bike’s relevance.
ALYI came to us to productionalize their pilot and design the idea of a maximum occupancy, affordable, rugged, long-range, electric motorcycle with a retro aesthetic into the future. On the surface, as designers and engineers, we both loved the concept and at the same time, quickly recognized the rational market opportunity ALYI was targeting.
As all likely know, ALYI’s initial target is the motorcycle taxi market in Africa. The African motorcycle taxi market is a widely accepted mode of transportation locally referred to as boda boda. Financial margin opportunities for boda boda operators are thin allowing much room for the entry of a vehicle that can improve profits for operators above and beyond the obvious environmental benefits garnered from an electric vehicle.
Furthermore, the vast majority of the boda boda motorcycles are produced off continent further increasing operational expenses and depriving the local economy of the economic benefit that could be derived though local production.
Boda boda operators tend to compete for customers by attempting to outdo each other with the customization of their vehicles. ALYI’s retro design based on the globally recognized BMW R71 introduces a compelling new customization vector.
ALYI’s electric mobility vision extends far beyond the initial ReVolt Electric Motorcycle initiative. Rather than defining a set line of products, ALYI’s electric mobility vision is built on defining a process for coordinating the evolution of electric mobility design where future products result from the process instead of a process being forced upon an arbitrarily defined product.
We believe in the iterative design process and are confident our expertise and experience can serve a vital role in the management of ALYI’s electric mobility evolutionary vision. At our request, we have engaged with ALYI in an equity relationship and are enthusiastic about becoming long-term participants in the ALYI electric mobility ecosystem.
BMW R71 And Beyond
It appears the Ural Motorcycle company attempted to beat ReVolt to the punch on introducing an electric motorcycle based on the BMW R71. Ural already produces a combustion engine motorcycle reminiscent of the BMW R71 and after ReVolt announced its BMW R71 clone conversion initiative, Ural quickly brought an electric version of their own to a trade show. However, no electric Ural is for sale today that we have found.
That’s probably because the Ural bike, while rugged and robust, weighs 700 lbs. The BMW R71 is surely durable and has a compelling retro aesthetic, but it’s not the best platform in the long-term, at least not in it its raw format, for a commercial electric motorcycle.
Electric vehicle design should start with a white board. Vehicle design before the advent of electric vehicles has followed a consistent evolutionary path for over a century now, and that path needs to end so a new one can begin.
It is time to rethink what an electric vehicle is, and how it integrates into the world at large. Vehicles no longer need be designed around an internal combustion engine and a fuel tank. Electric motors and power sources need not be confined to traditional design restrictions. Electric vehicle design is less complex than internal combustion vehicle providing for more flexibility and new opportunity.
When we came to the ReVolt project, we identified a fork opportunity in the project path. In one direction we pursued the refinement of ALYI’s original BMW R71 clone design. In the other direction we initiated the ongoing future design process for the ReVolt maximum occupancy, affordable, rugged, long-range, electric motorcycle with a retro aesthetic.
The ReVolt for the African boda boda market will ultimately be an entirely new electric motorcycle reflecting the retro BMW R71 aesthetic designed with interchangeable modular components that provide operators with both a diverse range of economic engagement opportunities and customization options.
The boda boda ReVolt production motorcycle will provide operators the opportunity to own the motorcycle frame while selecting from a range of modular components to bolt onto the frame that can be leased or purchased. The modularity facilitates customization and the leasing aspect reduces the upfront expense required to get into operation. The leasing option also enables rapid adoption of future technological advances.
But fear not, the BMW R71 electric clone will live on. In respect to ALYI’s roots and retro brand, U.S. motorcycle enthusiasts will be able to purchase converted BMW R71 clones or conversion kits to electrify on their own BMW R71 clones.
Ongoing EV Design
Electric vehicles (EV) require less airflow with no requirement to cool an internal combustion engine. With reduce grill requirements, opportunities for aerodynamic efficiencies improve and will be needed to compensate for battery life challenges.
With a strong demand for connectivity, software and user interfaces become an important aspect of EV design. With the reduced complexity of EV design compared to internal combustion engine design comes a reduced need for switches, buttons and gauges. EV interiors and exteriors are likely to change dramatically from what we are currently familiar with in internal combustion vehicles.
Purchase paradigms will also change. EV systems are likely to be engaged in components rather than as a whole. Batteries and motors may well be leased or purchase separately from EV frames.
Government standards for EV’s will impact design. Safety will certainly be one area of regulatory impact but what about battery management?
Today, we are exploring opportunities with Samsung SDI and Gegadyne for battery solutions as well as with ALYI’s own in house battery research initiatives. Battery and fuel cell technology is rapidly advancing. So, it is important to compartmentalize power sources for future adoption into pre-existing EV designs.
Our experience with the ReVolt Electric Motorcycle is being codified into our future EV design process and integrated into ALYI’s overall electric mobility design eco-system.
The ReVolt Electric Motorcycle is just the starting place for ALYI’s long-term electric mobility vision. Instead of designing specific future products in an isolated lab, ALYI has designed a process to bring a community of stakeholders together with ALYI’s own design team to collectively contribute to the future of electric mobility in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.
To motivate and inspire collaboration in a rational electric mobility evolutionary process, ALYI has architected an annual electric mobility symposium and conference around an electric auto race as an anchor event. The annual event will generate revenue contributing to the local economy, at the same time contributing to the evolutionary development of future electric mobility innovations. The expense of research and development will at least be offset by revenue from the annual event and potentially, research and development may become a profit center.
We cannot tell you how excited we are to participate in the electric auto race event and corresponding design process. We know you will understand and share our enthusiasm as you learn more through future announcements.
To learn more about MODUS, please visit our website at http://www.modusai.co/
For more information and to stay up to date on ALYI’s latest developments, please visit: http://www.alternetsystemsinc.com
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