Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Raptor puts the Midlands on the electric vehicle map

A new electric vehicle designed, manufactured and assembled in the Midlands is enjoying a hugely successful first year of sales, with £1.5 m of orders already in the pipeline and numerous jobs created.
Ecospin, the brainchild of brothers Paul and David Loomes, has seen demand for its 3-wheeled EPV come from all over the world, with 350 units already destined for distributors in the United States and Australia.
The Manufacturing Challenge
The Electric vehicle market is seen as a potential boom area for manufacturing companies and the sector is awash with anything from crazy inventors to big corporations looking to make money.
Bringing a new product to life in this arena from nothing more than a few sketches was always going to be a long and arduous test.
Despite Paul and David commanding significant experience in the automotive and electronics industries, the duo were struggling to attract funding to turn a rough clay model into something more than just an exciting concept.
The technology being used in the ‘Raptor’ was also unique and it required a lot of returning to the drawing board to iron out issues with battery life, weight and the streering mechanism, which gives the three –wheeled vehicle its flexibility.
Despite winning a lot of admiring glances, the brothers were running out of time and needed firm support to make the project happen.
MAS action
Manufacturing Advisor David Nuttall was first introduced to Ecospin in 2010 when the Raptor was a clay model in Paul’s makeshift studio.
Immediately recognising the potential for the product, MAS quickly got involved and provided specialist support on the design and development of the custom-made chassis and bespoke handling system.
It also helped fund early testing at MIRA to help shape design work, which led to the company adopting a rear-wheel drive mechanism.
Throughout the following three years, David has continued to mentor the brothers and provide access to crucial advice and information on the launch and subsequent move into new markets.
Results
Ecospin officially launched the UK’s first road legal electric three wheel vehicle last year and has already amassed £1.5m of orders from the US and Australia. Encouragingly, new distribution agreements are also being discussed with another seven countries.
This has helped the firm take on seven new workers at its R&D facility in Leicester and also led to a new partnership to house a dedicated ‘Raptor’ production line at Ace Forming in Dudley – a move that is already providing employment for six people and gives it the potential to produce up to 2000 vehicles ever year.
Created first UK road legal electric 3-wheeled vehicles
Generated £1.5 of sales
Created 7 jobs in Leicester R&D facility and 6 at production line in Dudley
By  David Nuttall