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Today was a big day for Flit. In 2017 we won a grant from the Department for Transport to develop our first prototype folding ebike. This was a big step as it allowed us to begin working through various physical versions of the design as we refined our ideas. Today the DfT invited us back to unveil our first fully working prototype at the Transport-Technology Innovation Showcase in the heart of London.

We have had this prototype for a couple of months now, and are really happy with the results from our manufacturer. We’ve used the time to test it in every way we can think of, from trying to break it on mechanical test rigs, to checking how intuitive the fold is, to showing it to bike shops and getting their take on how easy it would be to repair and service. We’ve found plenty of things to improve and already made a number of changes to the design. But the prototype also gave us the confidence to take the next step and file intellectual property rights on the more innovative elements of the design, protecting many of our ideas as we move through the manufacturing process. 
 
With the intellectual property rights filed, we were free to unveil the prototype just in time for the showcase. On the day, we had dozens of interesting conversations ranging from explaining how ebikes could help people on their commutes (and thereby help to improve public health and reduce congestion), to talking to engineers interested in the design techniques we used to keep our ebike design so small and light. It was also great to present our prototype to Jesse Norman, the Minister of State for Transport and an advocate for using new technology to get more people cycling. We hope that, by showing people like the minister the new opportunities that ebikes can open up, we can help to be part of that change.

Alex presenting our ebike to Jesse Norman, the Minister for State Transport

This protoype is a big step towards being able to launch our ebike, but there still work to do. Over the next couple of months, we will be testing the integration of our electrical system, as well as using techniques like 3D printing to check our updated designs. We’ll be visiting Taiwan again for the Taipei Cycle Show in late March, and plan to use the trip to visit our manufacturing partner as we make final preparations for the next batch of prototypes.
 
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