A Year in the Life of An Electric Bicycle Brand
Sometimes start-up life can feel like a whirlwind. Days pass like hours and weeks vanish in a heartbeat, but somehow the beginning feels like a lifetime ago. When we look back at 2014 it’s exciting to see how far we have come in 12 short months. In short, our young electric bike brand is growing up.
For a two-wheeled vehicle, the Faraday Porteur racked up an impressive number of frequent flyer miles in 2014. We gave the production Porteur its official unveiling in January at CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Vegas, and from there the Porteur traveled across the country multiple times for tradeshows, press events, special guest rides and even a TEDx conference. While a number of events were held across the city, the Porteur’s international debut at Eurobike in the summer was a definite highlight.
We delivered bikes!!! Without a doubt, this was the biggest day (yet) in our young electric bike brand’s history. On April 7th we delivered the very first Faradays to a handful of local Kickstarter backers and official beta testers. Like sending your kids to their first day of school, the handoffs were made with great pride, big smiles and a few nervous moments as the bikes rolled out of sight for the very first time. Happily, no incidents ensued – just very happy customers. The delivery date was also met with an official “shaving party” as the gentlemen of Faraday had agreed not to shave throughout the 6-month production process. Goodbye gnarly beards, hello official Faraday owners.
2014 was happily the year of the test rides. We had a blast giving a few thousand riders their very first Faraday, an electric bike, experience. From curious onlookers we met on the streets to some famous faces, the post-ride smile was the same. Even our customers got in on the action, as we heard repeatedly that these eye-catching new electric bikes were Tesla-esque in their ability to capture the interest and imagination of friends, neighbors, and total strangers. In early May we even had the pleasure to give Sir Richard Branson himself a ride through San Francisco – consider us star-struck.
By the middle of summer, we had fulfilled the majority of our Bay Area orders and started to ship bikes across the country. Trying to coordinate packing, shipping logistics, run firmware tests and stage 20+ bikes in an 800 square engineering space meant things were getting a “bit” cramped. So after a marathon month of bike Tetris, we moved from the windowless loft of a machine shop that used to be home to our own 2000 square foot light-filled workspace/machine shop/ mini showroom. We quickly settled into our own office space just a few short blocks from our previous home at Mission Motors.
After delivering the last bikes to the inaugural fleet of Faraday riders we were excited to introduce the Faraday Porteur to the next generation of electric bike converts. We had a number of stores who have given years of support and encouragement to Faraday and it was finally time to deliver our first dealer bikes. We opened our first official dealers in our backyard as well as in Faraday’s unofficial birthplace, Portland, OR. Early 2015 we will have over 20 dealers across North America. For those of you itching to go for a ride, the wait is almost over – we will be coming to a bike shop near you SOON!
Fall in the Bay Area is always glorious and we took advantage of the long sunny days with the launch of our Bay Area demo program. We always love taking folks out on a ride from the office but riders who want the full Faraday experience can now take the bike home for a week, completely free of charge. The program has proved to be a smashing success and we look forward to expanding it in 2015. We met some amazing people through the program and the hardest part of the week is always breaking the news the news that yes, the bikes do have to be returned at the end. Happily, delivery of the next batch of Porteurs is right around the corner.
After 2 years, California finally got some rain. In between soggy rides and fender testing, there were a number of product milestones. We finished testing on our highly-requested rear rack, opened our online accessories store, started manufacturing in the second round of bikes and were deep in design on new models and accessories. We celebrated the season with featured spots in the gift guides of Anthropologie, Engadget, Outside, and Vanity Fair, proving that whether you’re a sophisticated lady, a technology-lover, or an outdoor gear-head, a Faraday could be the transportation upgrade you’ve been looking for.
It feels like so much more happened in 2014 … needless to say, the year marked a milestone for Faraday in terms of delivering on (and exceeding) the high expectations of our customers, broadening our reach, and establishing our electric bike brand. In 2015, we’re setting the bar even higher. If 2014 was the year Faraday arrived, 2015 will be the year we expand our reach, increase our impact, and broaden our vision. If you received a Faraday in 2014, test rode one, shared us with your community, or placed an order, thank you. And if you haven’t, yet, we invite you to do so in 2015 – come be a part of Faraday’s NEW best year ever. Happy 2015!