Ruary Hewson, Head of Design, Adapt, Zhuhai.
DB: With other products on the market which the ‘Adapt’ model can be compared to, what do you see as its USP (Unique Selling Point)?
What we tried to do with Adapt, is offer the most accessible means of transforming a regular bicycle into an e bike. This took effect on a number of levels, from the cost through to the seamless day to day use of it. But perhaps the starkest contrast is the speed at which the system can be installed, in being under a minute.
The holistic environmental approach taken to its production could also be seen as a USP, as the extent to which we paid attention to the causes of production on the environment, is very uncommon. But hopefully this will not be a USP for too long.
DB: How did this idea come about, where did it first stem from and what pushed you to start development and take it all the way into production?
After seeing some motors for another project in our office, Sourya had the idea of making a solar powered battery motor unit for a bicycle. We soon figured out that this was not going to be feasible through the amount of power that could be generated, but carried on experimenting with more ideas until we decided on using a friction drive system. From there the idea kept evolving, in the aim of finding the most suitable solution on all fronts.
The reason we carried the idea on is that at its core, it makes sense for a host of reasons. From an ecological perspective, it is far more environmentally friendly to add a relatively small adapting unit to an already existing bicycle, than to make one from scratch. Other reasons range from significant cost reduction, to flexibility in switching from an e bike to regular bicycle for exercise.
The overarching drive and commitment to the project has really been due to a shared passion for sustainable use of energy and resources.
DB: From a production point of view it must be difficult to constantly be aware of materials and processes used and whether they are environmentally friendly and meet ethical standards, how do you stay on top of this as it is a unique factor to the product?
We have utilized advanced software that calculates the emissions automatically through knowing which manufacturing processes are being used for each of the component parts, and in which region of the world it is being produced. It takes into consideration; material extraction, manufacturing and transport.
The other important aspect of the equation is the offset measure that is used; as such we are only using and will only use carbon credits that are ‘Gold Standard’. This is an accredited system that is considered best of class and supported by other organizations like the WWF. It takes into account numerous factors and is contingent on central principles that we think are important, namely that offsets are; highly accountable with quantifiable measures, prove real reduction in CO2 emissions and are not just reductions that would have otherwise have been made, take into consideration and support the local communities and environments that surround the project, and where possible help educate respective communities to mitigate future emissions.
By using these systems it frees us up to concentrate on other things that will make the product more compelling.
DB: Right now ‘Adapt’ is gaining momentum and attention, where do you see this going in 5 years time and what is your personal vision for this technology?
Our vision is to keep making innovative products that not only surpass competition in ingenuity and performance, but do not do this at the expense of the environment. Hopefully in turn we can help change the dialogue a bit about how products are made, and how we make products of true benefit to end users.
DB: At the DCIC you took home an award in the Sustainability and Environment category which must have felt like a proud moment. What did you think of the awards bringing all these companies together which have been built on creativity and innovation to encourage collaboration?
Winning the award was certainly a proud moment for the entire Adapt team. It helps add conviction into the work we are doing, and spurs us on to create more great products that people will hopefully enjoy.
Put simply, the event was great. The gala itself served as a perfect forum/platform, bringing together a range of companies and highlighting a shared passion for innovation and creativity. It was motivating especially because it encouraged young entrepreneurs like us to continue all efforts in creating innovative products. We got the opportunity to interact with other companies and exchange ideas which will no doubt impact the way we think about the current market. Hopefully this will act as a beginning to numerous ventures for many of us.