It’s been a bit quiet on the velomobile front for a few weeks because I’ve been working out production costs for Atomic Duck M0.1 to produce the prototype and for putting it into batch production.
In short: the current design is too expensive. The lowest price I could produce the M0.1 for sale for is around £1650 (as batches of 10, singly it’s £3600). As this is already above my target price for the final kit, it’s clear that the design is not to yet refined to my manufacturing requirements.
While I could mitigate some of the production cost by going abroad for production or producing larger batches of kits, this would just be papering over the problem with money. If production is dependent on exchange rate or living cost advantages to get kits at the right price, then local production will never be viable — which loses one of the great advantages of open source engineering.
Instead, I’ll be spending time re-engineering the chassis to reduce the cost of production. I’ll be looking particularly at the font axle cross tube (A001_P009_R001) and every folded aluminium piece. The cross tube needs a mandrel bend as parts of it’s manufacture, and each fold in the 3mm aluminium sheet needs an industrial brake press; which, although they are common practice in the metalworking industry, are expensive to use at low volumes because they are manual processes and the equipment required makes them effectively out-of-reach for home production.
But we’re still here, still working on the Atomic Duck. Keep watching as we get closer to production…