Bimotal, a Technology Company

Bimotal Inc, a technology company

Technology is a term that combines the Greek techne, “art, craft” with logos, “word, speech.” It first appeared in English during the 17th century, specifically to mean a discussion of the applied arts. Gradually the meaning expanded to systematic techniques for making and doing things. At Bimotal, Technology already plays an integral role in our techniques, methods and processes, as well as our products.

Many people in 2021 think of a technology company as confined to software-based products and services, yet the concept of technology can be applied to anything from farming and dirt quality to quantum computing and artificial intelligence. To us, a technology company is one that operates with a metrics-based approach to drive changes and improvements in products and services.

Companies use technology in a multitude of ways, and to many ends. How can we produce more food using less CO2? How can we move people or merchandise from A to B using less CO2? There are infinite possibilities to solve these problems, many likely involve software and electronics, but there is more to moving metrics forward than bits and electrons: for example, people and atoms. 

Metrics we use frequently at Bimotal include: CO2 per mile, power per kg, range per kg, dollars per mile traveled, and average travel speed.

A preliminary rendition of the Bimotal Mobile App that tracks power over time, and power consumption per distance traveled (Watt-hours per mile or Wh/mi). Think of this as a miles per gallon equivalent, but inverted, so less Wh per mile is better (less energy to travel one mile).

Why focus on technology over products?

The first goal for Bimotal has been building the best micro-electric powertrain. From here we will scale into full vehicles for the last-mile commuter and delivery markets. Why are we doing this instead of launching with a small vehicle that uses existing technology? Because Bimotal believes it will make the total biggest impact by advancing technology, rather than repackaging off-the-shelf solutions.

Of course developing new technology adds layers of expense and difficulty to the challenge of making a product, but these upfront costs are justified. Pushing motor speeds, gear materials, and everything else that goes into developing a more efficient electric powertrain from scratch helps to move the whole industry forward. 

We redesigned the cams in our quick-connects for a quicker, more secure connection.

The product development runway may be longer, but the customer receives a better product. Better, more capable products lead to happier customers, which leads to higher adoption, then scale, then reducing cost, and eventually mass adoption that does indeed move the needle on CO2 consumption per mile traveled.

Bimotal’s core technologies

Mission-driven technology

Building better micro-electric powertrains, and hence micro-electric vehicles, reduces barriers for consumers to use these vehicles. For example, a 30 lb ebike is much more manageable in a city apartment than the near-prohibitive weight of a 50 lb ebike, especially when stairs are considered. Better yet, a 20 lb bike with a 5.5 lb removable powertrain gives even more flexibility. 

Every gram and watt of loss is significant when we think about adoption across hundreds of millions of people. How we plan to achieve these improvements involves multiple factors. For example, efficiency compounds, especially so in electric powertrains. Here a 3% motor improvement, and there a 2% wire harness efficiency gain combine to get us slightly more than 5% of added efficiency. Mass reduction can further compound gains. 

Bimotal Data Logging In Action. The user’s throttle input (red) is tracked by the motor current delivered, which results in torque to the wheel.

Process technology

Bimotal employs an alternating schedule of meetings and work days. We work consistently to minimize meetings, the goal is to have the minimum number of people-hours in meetings without having major communication breakdowns. Stacking approximately four meetings between 10am and 12pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday can be intense, but on the upside, this leaves two-thirds of each meeting day available for tasks. Take a typical week: On Monday we have our meetings, and then Tuesday is for deeply-focused work. On Wednesday results are reviewed and we determine the next set of engineering experiments, and so on. We flip our schedules every week, so the following week we meet on Tues and Thurs, to keep everyone on their toes and have the occasional Friday or Monday free of meetings.

Communication technology has become extremely efficient, so much so that it can be a distraction that reduces productivity. For example, we’re still figuring out how to best use Slack. Our staff and contractors are encouraged to pause notifications or put an away message if they’re entering a block of deep work that requires full focus and mental capacity.

A little levity helps things along sometimes, and we let the objectives determine the meeting format.

Integrating technology into the fabric of Bimotal as a company provides us with the opportunity to be better not just in one way, but in everything we do.

By Toby Ricco

Toby is the founder and CEO of Bimotal. His lifelong passion for tinkering, engineering and inventing started at age five in the family garage. By age 17 he’d made electric scooters and go-karts, and started interning at Tesla. After completing his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley, Toby joined Tesla full time where he led several key projects across Tesla Energy, Model S, X, & 3, programs. He founded Bimotal with the aim of building the best micro-electric powertrains and vehicles.