How I got to Shandoka
ERNEST EICH, FOUNDER
My journey to bring a clean fuel vehicle to market began 20 years ago, as I gained my first exposure to sustainability practices and zero-impact design in undergraduate studies at North Carolina State University. Engineering School still considered the environment as a giant heatsink, but a new wave of “green” thinking was starting to enter the picture. For me, it was introduced through recreation program and facility design courses by professors who thought – and taught – beyond the envelope of conventional practice. Sustainability would change the way we think about the world.
At the turn of the new millennium, it was uncertain whether fuel cells or batteries would power the electric cars of the future. Our Pre-Smartphone-era Energy Tech pointed toward Hydrogen at first, and I looked at Internal Combustion Engine conversions as a way to bridge demand while a hydrogen infrastructure could be established. As the infrastructure was built, we were all certain that fuel cell technology and hydrogen storage density issues would be solved so they could be commercialized and take the helm. I made some good moves toward a small local infrastructure in Telluride, CO and brought all the important stakeholders on board.
Well, that was wrong. The advent of the LiFePO4 battery at scale proved it.
Now that we’ve arrived in yesterday’s future and battery technology is on the verge of yet another leap forward, the advantages of batteries continue to win over the complexities of on-board fuel cell systems. But even these seemingly advanced Lithium chemistries will seem like Nikola Tesla’s paper-wrapped carbon batteries in a another decade.
—Mountain Zen, and the Motorcycle—
In Colorado early 2000s I learned to ride a motorcycle – a solid fit with my natural vehicular abilities and professional experiences operating a wide range of cars, trucks, limousines, construction equipment, and off-road tour machines. Plus, what a place to ride a motorcycle! Now to resolve that noisy BANG machine between by legs…
As I began to form the idea for an electric motorcycle into something physical, the constant evolution of the power source was at the root of my thoughts. The design required an intrinsic adaptability for energy-tech advancements. Batteries would evolve, and might move beyond a battery or fuel cells in a swift leap of new thought.
My initial inspiration came from the frustration of an old bike I couldn’t get running. The carburetor floats and jets had been touched by so many people – and the no-title machine was dropped and hammered so much anyway – I was doubtful it would ever run right again. But when I stripped it down, I could see beneath the form of the machine to find a new function – as a converted Electric Motorcycle.
That was Spring 2011. In just a few weeks, and with several rolls of duct tape spent, I had a basic form for the adapters to easily bolt a massive battery pack onto the frame. But there were only a few prismatic lithium cells to design with, all outside the budget of a driveway engineer and none certain to function … at all. So I refined my design, and waited as the technology was developed and brought to common production.
This year, 2019, I am proud to offer the first edition of the Modular Electric Motorcycle ™ from Shandoka, llc. The patent-pending system will open the door to the rescue of many excellent motorcycles from the scrap-bin, and serve as a basis for an all-new motorcycle system to meet a wide range of user needs.
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I am thrilled to be able to bring these great machines from drawing board and hobby garage to the winding, hilly roads of the real world. While the journey continues to form in front of us, I hope you’ll bookmark the page and join our monthly newsletter list to grab our postcards from beyond.
Gather the Storm!