In the last two months, I've delved into the world of electric scooter factories located in Wuxi, China. This city is responsible for the production of over 70% of the world's electric bikes and scooters. During my time in Wuxi, I had the chance to visit various eScooter factories. Each factory has its own purpose. Some factories were distinguished by their massive production numbers, while others put a greater emphasis on establishing their brand. I was fortunate enough to work closely with Luyuan, a major two-wheel electric vehicle manufacturer in China that is known for its top-of-the-line quality.
Through months of interactions and observations at Luyuan's headquarters, I was able to identify the three crucial components that contribute to producing exceptional electric scooters. These components are the scooter's design, parts, and assembly process.
Design: Listening to the Customer
An electric scooter's design aims to make it easy to use while enhancing user experience. For instance, one may not pay much attention to the shape of handlebars. Turns out, however, that the shape of the handlebars plays a significant role in riding. According to an ergonomic engineer at Yadea, the world's largest electric scooter factory, handlebar shape depends on the designer's desired bike specialty. Generally speaking, sporty or aggressive riding requires straight handlebars while relaxed cruising is better with swept-back handlebars. Additionally, the handlebar shape can impact the turning radius and stability. Wider handlebars provide greater control and narrower handlebars improve stability at higher speeds.
The engineer said that the most challenging part, however, is figuring out what customers will like. Ensuring customer satisfaction is key when making any good electric vehicle.
When we first released our INNO-A, we received feedback from our customers that expressed the desire for a turning signal sound. Without this sound, our customers would forget to turn the signal off after making their turns. We immediately communicated this to Luyuan and they added the feature to the next updated model, INNO-A Plus. Creating a design that not only functions well but also addresses users' actual needs makes for an exceptional electric scooter.
Materials: Investing in Quality
When it comes to the materials used in electric scooters, many companies turn to third-party providers in order to cut costs and speed up production development. While this approach may have its advantages, integrating components from different sources can also present challenges and impact overall performance. The quality of third-party motors, batteries, brakes, and controllers may limit a scooter's capabilities and make it difficult to optimize features based on market feedback. This, in turn, could hinder a company's ability to improve overall performance and customer satisfaction.
When the temperature of an electric motor exceeds 212°F (100°C), the insulation on the motor's winding may melt. Melted insulation on a motor can cause the motor to short-circuit and result in the neodymium boron (a magnetic component) experiecing a magnetic force effect. This effect, along with an increase in temperature, causes the magnet steel sheet to weaken. This results in a domino effect that damages the coils and decreases the motor's power output. A slight rise in temperature could even lead to the complete failure of the motor. Luyuan, our manufacturer, has taken a unique approach to combating heat in the motor. They are committed to producing products that last as long as possible. To achieve this, Luyuan has spent nearly a decade investing in and developing the newest electric vehicle technology: The liquid-cooling hub motor. One of Luyuan's mechanical engineers explained that the liquid cooling system allows for the motor temperature to remain under 212°F (100°C) while most motors reach up to 266°F (130°C) under a heavy load.
Luyuan, our manufacturer, sets itself apart from the competition and shows its commitment to quality through its 10-year warranty. By developing its own components and focusing on quality and high technology, Luyuan is able to optimize the performance of its scooters and deliver a product that exceeds customer expectations.
Assembly: Attention to Detail
The assembly process is a crucial step in producing a high-quality scooter. Paying attention to detail is essential to ensuring that each scooter is assembled correctly. While touring different manufacturers, I ran across a factory that shows no respect for standard of procedure. Their workers would use 6 different screws on the same hole, clearly risking potential safety issues. In contrast, I also observed modern factories, like Luyuan and Yeada, that have a strict assembly process. Their assembly process includes a "7-step quality control" process:
Pre-production inspection: Before starting assembly, the parts are inspected for quality and accuracy to ensure that they are suitable for use in the final product.
Initial assembly check: Assembling the major components to ensure that everything fits together properly and that there are no major issues that would prevent the scooter from operating safely.
Visual inspection: This step involves a detailed visual inspection of the scooter to check for any cosmetic defects, scratches, or other issues that might affect the overall quality of the product.
Electrical safety check: This involves a close examination of the electrical components to ensure that they are wired correctly and safely, and that all safety features are functioning properly.
Functionality check: Once the assembly is complete, a functionality check is performed to ensure that the scooter is operating correctly, and that all features such as the buttons, lights, horn, and brakes are functioning as intended.
Road testing: After the functionality check is complete, the scooter is taken for a test ride to ensure that it handles correctly and is safe to ride on the road.
Final inspection: The final step involves a detailed inspection of the finished scooter to ensure that it meets all quality standards and is ready for delivery to the customer.
By following this process, we can be sure that each scooter meets our high-quality standards and exceeds our customers' expectations.
One thing that I remember the most is the Andon System at Luyuan's factory. This is a red button located in front of every worker on the assembly line. If there is a problem that is beyond the worker's capability, the worker will press the button. The pressing of this red button will signal the entire assembly line to work together until the problem is solved. At the end of each day, the leaders of each assembly line gather to discuss how many Andon problems occurred and how to minimize the likelihood of similar problems in the future. This helps create a culture of continuous improvement and ensures that production is stopped when problems arise, reducing the risk of defects and waste. By using the Andon system, we can catch issues early and prevent them from affecting the final product, ensuring that the highest quality possible.
In conclusion, creating a high-quality electric scooter requires a focus on design, components, and assembly. With so many companies and manufacturers around the world, it can be challenging to find the best one among the competition. Three key criteria to consider when selecting a manufacturer are listening to customers, investing in quality materials, and paying attention to detail. As a proud partner of Luyuan, we are dedicated to providing our customers with exceptional electric scooters that not only perform well, but also offer a fun, enjoyable, and reliable riding experience. We believe that by prioritizing quality and customer satisfaction, we can help our customers get the most out of their electric scooters and promote a cleaner, more sustainable form of transportation.