18 Oct

Roman emperor Augustus… and our E-drive ?

Hey, it’s us again! 

This update about the development of our electric motor (e-drive) begins with Augustus, founder of the Roman Empire and its first Emperor, ruling from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His maternal great-uncle Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, and Augustus was named in Caesar’s will as his adopted son and heir.

The Roman historian Suetonius tells that Augustus strongly disapproved of rashness in a military commander, and, accordingly, his favourite saying was Festina Lente. These Latin words can be translated as “make haste slowly“.

The constructive intent of the phrase is that activities should be performed with a proper balance of urgency and diligence. If tasks are overly rushed, mistakes are made and good long-term results are not achieved.

Roman coins minted during the time of Augustus and later Titus bore several emblems that symbolized the adage festina lente, including the dolphin and anchor. The dolphin represents “haste” and the anchor represents “slowly.” We also like the drawing where a crab gently holds a butterfly:


And take a look at the image below where a hare tries to jump out of a snail shell. Our favourite is the sail-backed turtoise, an illustration made for Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.


The underlying meaning of festina lente resonates through everything that we do at Infento. 
Better to do all your endeavours constructively and extremely thorough than fast and sloppy. And this is how we approach the development of the e-drive as well. It’s a completely new product for us and it needed to be developed from the ground up. Every. Single. Part. We can be honest about it: the e-drive is a tough nut to crack and it’s taking longer than we expected. But as we mentioned in our previous newsletter, you can rest assured that we are on top of it. We already accomplished A LOT.

Above is a sneak preview of the design for the E-drive motor housing. Below you can see what the intestines of this electric device will look like.

Electricity is in the air

Ok, so now you know again what it will look like when it’s finished. But how far are we in the process? We quickly came to the conclusion that we don’t have all the required knowledge in-house. That’s why we hired an external team to assist us. Together we jumped over a lot of big hurdles already (nerds dig in, generalists please just glance at the following enumeration):

Design 

– Principles and directions for system configuration
– Generating and defining visual design
– Solid modeling of 3D design concepts

Analysis

– Defining system configuration
– Defining and calculating forces of transmission
– Integration of components in motor and battery housing
– Defining battery (type / exchangeability / storage / charge setup)
– Pre-sourcing at potential suppliers
– Preliminary component selection
– Analysis of safety standards and restrictions

Development 

– Real life tests with several configurations
– Validation of performance, power and usability.
– Selection of final electronic configurations
– Sourcing suppliers of final configuration

Mechanical engineering

– Motor pack (components positioning, housing parts & assembly)
– Battery pack (components positioning, housing parts & assembly)
– Brackets (housing parts & assembly)
– Gas handle / connection
– Safety features / switches

All of the above leads up to this… tadaaa, our very first prototype:

You can see on the pictures that it starts to look like a motor indeed. The rectangular thing is the battery pack, not to be confused with a lunchbox.

The next weeks will be quite exciting for us because we will begin with testing of the final electronic configuration. We also want to validate the design on functionality and safety. A certified body will then test the e-drive to make sure it meets safety standards. Preparing for these tests is a specifically challenging job. Why is that, you wonder? Well, it’s quite unique that a life size construction kit has an electric motor added. There is no existing reference for such a product. We’re completely unique. This has never been done before. That’s why it’s a real puzzle to find out which rules and regulations exactly apply to our case.

Looking at the timeline for the development: it takes about nine months from this stage to a completely finished e-drive. Yes, that is the same amount of time it costs a human to give birth to new life. And we do everything in our power to bring this new Infento baby to life smoothly. We can’t wait until we see this beauty in real life:

 

This is the e-drive development in a nutshell. 
Now you might understand better that this process takes time. We want to deliver a product of great quality. A rush job will result in mistakes. Samsung Galaxy Note 7, anyone? The best product comes with the right balance of proper diligence and quick decisions.

Like Augustus would often tell his commanders:

That which has been done well has been done quickly enough.

Thank you for your support and heavily tested patience. We will make sure the result is worthwhile.

As always, keep on riding,

Team Infento