Midlands made ‘Raptor’ powers to an ‘electric’ world first
Published by Russ Cockburn for Danks Cockburn Public Relations Ltd in Bill Payments and also in Central Government, Environment, Local Government
(l-r) David Loomes (Ecospin), Andy Watts, Steve Gaston (both FW Cables) and Paul Loomes (Ecospin)
Two manufacturing brothers from the Midlands have launched the world’s first ‘road legal’ electric powered vehicle and are already taking enquiries from the Metropolitan police and firms in Dubai and Singapore.
Paul and David Loomes, who are experts in automotive design and electronics respectively, have formed Ecospin Ltd to launch the ‘Raptor’, a three-wheeled EPV that is capable of doing 25mph and up to 60 miles with just one charge.
The duo have tapped into support from the Midlands Assembly Network - a collaboration of ten world class manufacturers – to develop specialist wiring looms and a host of engineering solutions to turn the design into a reality.
After more than two years of development and £1.2m of personal investment, the ‘green’ vehicle is the first of its type to be granted road legal status, giving it an immediate advantage over similar rivals.
“Securing this ‘world first’ catapults the Raptor into the global spotlight and strong expressions of interested have been received from Europe, the Middle East and Far East,” explained Paul.
“We spent two years refining the design so that it met the requirements of the UK’s Vehicle and Operating Servicing Agency (VOSA). This means that our EPV can be registered for use on both private land and on roads, something that will appeal to police forces, local governments and major event organisers…the Olympics is one possible application.”
He continued: “Initially, we will be looking to build 60 vehicles and then ramp up production gradually until we are manufacturing 3000 units per year.”
Development of the Raptor has been down to the skills of the Ecospin team. Joining Paul and David at the helm are Directors Tim Cant (Engineering Design), Carlos Mendez (Electronics and Powertrain) and Ashley Parsons, who is the trouble shooter when it comes to practical trials and problem solving.
The EPV, which has received expert backing from the Manufacturing Advisory Service’s New Product Development scheme, combines the latest automotive design techniques with a bespoke electric powertrain.
A custom-made chassis, electronic differential and intuitive handle bars deliver expert control and cornering with twin rear-wheel drive providing increased traction over loose and slippery surfaces.
An elevated ride platform allows for the rider to see over crowds and increases visibility at events, with a special lithium ion battery offering speeds of up to 25 mph and an impressive 60-mile range.
David continued: “The Raptor has zero emissions and typically costs less than 2 pence per mile to charge…the road legal model is also free to tax and insurance is favourable compared to motorcycles.
“A standard model will be about £6,000 and we’ll be pitching it into the police, security companies, postal service, theme parks, event management firms and airports.”
The Raptor is a truly Midlands creation with most of the parts sourced locally and all assembly completed in the region.
MAN member FW Cables has been responsible for developing specialist wiring looms and has also provided sourcing solutions on a number of electrical and electronic components.
It has also introduced Ecospin to other companies within the Group, such as Advanced Chemical Etching, Alucast, PP Electrical Systems and SMT Developments.
Andrew Watts, Managing Director of FW Cables, picked up the story:
“The Raptor is a great example of Midlands innovation and manufacturing at its best and we are delighted to be working with the designers on turning their vision into reality.
“With the VOSA approval in place, the next stage is to start small scale production and this is where I can see further opportunities for the rest of the Midlands Assembly Network to get involved.”
Located in the heart of Birmingham, FW Cables support customers from a diverse range of sectors, including automotive construction, aerospace and white goods.
It specialises in assemblies, electro-mechanical sub assemblies, component kitting and sourcing, along with ultra sonic cleaning for sensitive electronic components used in the car sector.
The Raptor is one of several exciting projects FW Cables and MAN are currently involved in, with many focusing on the development of electric vehicles and renewable energy.