I'm sure you've all been eager to know how it's going here - and about the Bries project in particular. First things first.
White collar work.
A fair bit of administration had to be chewed. Fietser.be V.O.F. is now a legal partnership. Dreadful jobs had to be done: statutes, business plan, financing, accountancy, and paying a lot of money to suits. Concocting the business plan was an interesting exercise for us, going through the numbers gave us something to hold onto as we jump. We conducted a market study of course, 'though it's nearly impossible to deliver hard numbers. Let's say we stay confident in our adventure. If you look at it one way, two third of all displacements by car, as well as two thirds of those by bicycle can be done as well or better by velomobile (3 km < x < 25 km). Converting that to an amount of vehicles left us dizzy.
Another way of looking at it would be that the sole availability in time and space, sans further marketing, would sell any next generation velomobile at at least double the rate we're producing the WAW now, say 40 a year. Memetic and social penetration, decent marketing and communication and a talented dealer network would double and, in a year or two triple that. We trust that the many innovative qualities of the Bries will expand the market as well as our share in it. This led us to choose a scalable development and production strategy which in turn determines some important stuff: loans, surface demand, staff... With the current financial (Mr. Bank said YES!) and logistic means we can start at a 40 per annum rate, and according to demand we can scale up production from 40 to 80 or 240 in no time. Hello world.
Four people are working here at present and, I'm proud to say, they're
all wonderful people and passionate about our Thing. Dries is, of
course, still our spiritual leader. He's very sorry he can't write you
in person and sends you his blessings. Filip handles the composite shop and WAW assembly. We've given Frederic a title of "Chief CAD
Engineer" but between us he's really trying to keep our poetic minds on
track. I thought I was here to deliver bright ideas but, until further
design work is needed, I've been assigned the communication job now.
Pardon my English. For all questions, remarks, advice, compliments and encouragements, same address: firstname.lastname@example.org. As a matter of fact, we're looking for one more
person for the carbon shell production.
All this beauty is to be found on our fresh premises. Same business
center, but a nice, light and spacious shop on the street side:
lokaal 0.01, bus 10,
B-9000 Gent Belgium.
We've divided this great hall into a series of rooms, each assigned to
different steps in the process. The office doubles up as a rather
minimalist showroom. Good we have dealers. Assembly and all things
bicycle happen in the next room, next, in the largest of rooms, is the
composite department, then a smaller room for dusty/smelly operations.
Transforming the workshop, moving and getting used to all this luxury
took the better part of the holidays. We tied Fred up here to do the
job while we were getting back our lives and loved ones. Thanks Fred.
We're all back in business for a while now and I'm sure you'll wonder
what we're so busy with. It's the Bakmobiel. A two people-propelled
delivery vehicle you may have spotted on our web site earlier, and in
some ways a test case for our procedure of materializing our thoughts
We had the plugs CNC-milled out of PU high density foam. You
can see one of the four plugs being processed in the third picture
above. They were spray coated with a polyester coat in order to pull
moulds off them. But alas. The polyester coat wasn't a great success so
as we speak they're being filled and sanded, filled and... well you
know the drill. They absorb huge amounts of time and we have to finish
the Bakmobiel ASAP. By consequence, the Bries will suffer some delay as
The Bakmobiel is a two person, heads-out vehicle with BionX electric assist. We designed the shape with multiple applications in mind though. A sociable heads-in could have a vague future as an electric or publicity vehicle. Omitting the central extruded piece then would result in a 'velomobreak': an enclosed vehicle with easy entrance and a lot of luggage space - a kind of suburban human powered vehicle. It's quite large - and with the proverbial kid and groceries it’d be rather heavy: fodder for electric assist. Ventilation will be a challenge in the rain and I suspect we'd better figure out a window wiper. Creative input is welcome.
We have to finish this beauty first before we make the Bries.
The Bries' plugs, however, are ready for moulding. I'm hesitant to tell you much more about it than what's been published previously, we should now concentrate on realizing our cunning plans first. We wish it went easier and faster. But we take comfort in the new Lotus, whose development cost a mere 150 million :-). We'll organize a test day in a few months when we've had the opportunity to fine tune the prototypes. Meanwhile we will try to keep our honourable readers happy with some images and generally keep you posted in the newsletters to be.
We do have more breaking news about some great new items we have in stock, but you would want something to look forward to in the next episode, wouldn't you?