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I recently took a trip to China in order to see for myself how many of the e-bike drive systems and components we use daily in the West were originally designed and produced. And no journey to view the origins of the most popular e-bike components would be complete without a visit to Ananda, one of the largest and most advanced OEMs in the industry.

I was able to visit the company’s R&D headquarters in Shanghai as well as one of their factory locations in Wuxi, giving me a close look at the design process and how those designs get manufactured into real e-bike systems.

After starting operations in 2001, Ananda has focused purely on micromobility systems since 2011. They’ve long built many types of hub motors for e-bikes and scooters, but expanded into their own mid-drive electric bike motors in 2017. And the company’s scale has grown massively ever since.

You might not have heard of the company yet, largely because they rarely advertise which major e-bike brands use their motors, controllers, and other components. But to put things in perspective, they produced around 6.5 million electric motors last year. Most of their products are built for the massive domestic market, but around 600,000 were exported to Europe and North America, where they made their way onto e-bikes we know and love. Many of the biggest brands use their systems. There’s a good chance you’ve got an Ananda motor, controller, or other hardware in your garage right now and just don’t realize it.

The company is constantly growing and a new Vietnamese factory is currently in the works, but because the North American and European markets are booming for Ananda, the company is currently working on setting up a new European factory. Ananda also recently opened up its first North American service center in Los Angeles and is expanding its local US-based team.

Ananda is responsible for designing and producing just about every component used in an electric bicycle other than the batteries and BMS. However, they work with several battery manufacturers and provide testing to certify compatibility with their extensive drive system lineup.

Their core competency is in research and development, followed by production implementation. While some companies merely design components produced elsewhere and others operate factories to manufacture third-party designs, Ananda does it all in-house, focusing on a wide range of systems ranging from entry-level to premium components.

And while Ananda started as mainly a component maker, offering their own motors and controllers, they’ve since evolved into an entire system integrator. Now they supply many e-bike brands with an entire e-bike system, minus the battery.

That all-encompassing approach has necessitated a huge footprint, with the company touting over 1,000 employees and over 200 automated machines, 70 of which are just for automated coil winding.

Ananda is also one of the most mature mid-drive motor makers in the Chinese market, now developing several higher-power models for the North American market. And with an obvious understanding of what Americans want, they explained to me that all North American motors they develop are compatible with throttles. Talk about knowing your audience!

Touring Ananda’s R&D facility in Shanghai

My tour at Ananda started in the R&D center. There, the company has a team of engineers and designers working on every component of e-bike drive systems.

A major piece of that design and development process is ensuring that each component can withstand the rigors of daily use in the harsh environments that e-bikes and e-scooters experience everyday.

I walked through rows of machines operating every type of torture test you can imagine. I saw motors being heat-shocked with high and low temperatures. I saw tanks with motors undergoing humidity testing, alternating between humid and arid conditions. Rain machines were running to keep a constant spray of water on the components. Each machine looked like a progressively worse type of condition that I’d definitely avoid putting my own e-bike through.

There were robotic button pushers who simply pushed buttons on handlebar displays tens of thousands of times. Motors were shock-loaded to simulate sudden stops and hard braking during operation; Imagine a broomstick in the spokes situation that instantly grinds the motor to a halt.

Dozens of dynamometers were set up for long-term testing, performing months of testing on constantly running motors.

Entire e-bikes were installed in full-scale testing machines to simulate long-term testing of complete systems over tens of thousands of miles.

In other parts of the R&D center, banks of 3D printers whirred away, producing prototypes that may become entirely new drive systems. One such system currently in the works is an e-bike hub motor that includes a three-speed transmission inside the hub. It will essentially become the marriage of a hub motor and an internally geared hub, offering the best of both technologies.

Across the hall, old-school technology in the machine shop contrasts with the high-tech machines, offering no-less-critical machining capabilities for fabricating and modifying new designs.

Teams of bike mechanics install test systems on mule bikes while test riders put them through miles and miles of real-world riding verification.

I even got to have a go myself, donning a company helmet and testing out several of the new motors and drive systems that Ananda has produced. I tried an M100 mid-drive motor that felt like a perfect balance of power and comfort, as well as a more powerful 750W M6100 mid-drive motor that was a lot of fun but, frankly, probably more power than I truly needed most of the time. That model is destined for the US market and is likely to be popular among riders seeking powerful performance.

I even tested a moped-style hub motor system complete with cast wheels that I was sure included a torque sensor in the drive system due to how responsive the pedal assist was. Only afterward did I learn it was actually just a really nicely designed cadence sensor that they had managed to remove almost all the pedal lag from.

After testing the e-bikes, they showed me their new diagnostic tools, which include software designed to easily diagnose issues that could arise over a lifetime of use. Instead of having an unclear error, shops or companies can simply use the software to run checks on the bikes and find out exactly what could be causing a specific issue.

Ananda’s manufacturing facility in Wuxi

The second half of the day was spent at one of Ananda’s factories, where I saw their manufacturing firsthand.

The first step is the inspection and analysis of components from Ananda’s suppliers. Workers inspect these components down to the micron level, ensuring everything is manufactured to spec. Even a small deviation in a motor shell, for example, could result in extra motor noise and increased wear.

That level of precision inspection is what separates the truly high-quality manufacturers who understand the level of accuracy necessary for consistently performing and reliable products.

From there, we moved to the factory floor, where motors are manufactured. The first step is the winding of the motor cores, which involves spools of copper wire being intricately wound around the motor’s stators.

If you’ve ever seen the way electric motors were built in years past, and honestly still in some places, you’ve probably seen videos of women hunched over tables using their delicate fingers for hand-winding motors. But Ananda’s over 70 automated motor winding machines make that a thing of the past.

Now, motor cores are not only wound without human labor, but they’re also done so much more accurately and uniformly. The beauty of robots is that they never make mistakes or get tired and sloppy; they just wind up every single motor the exact same way each time.

Those wound motor cores are then inspected before heading on to the next step of assembly into motor casings. The assembly process is a combination of manual and automated tasks. High-precision jobs, such as placing the gears and building the internal transmissions, are done using robotic assembly machines.

These sub-assemblies are then passed onto the rest of the assembly line, where they are joined by hand with the motor cases. A laser engraver serializes each motor shell along the way, and then it heads to sound testing to ensure it powers up and operates as quietly as it should.

Some motors are assembled using automated machinery, ensuring precision placement of the motor gears and components.

Each finished motor is scanned into the database and then packaged up for shipment to an OEM that will build it into an e-bike, e-scooter, or e-moped. Years ago, e-bike motors were always shipped in foam packaging for protection. But Ananda has switched to much more environmentally responsible paperboard packaging, offering equal protection without using such harmful materials that are not able to biodegrade.

Interestingly, in another part of the factory, I saw many of the same torture testing machines that I had first seen in the R&D center back in Shanghai. As I quickly understood though, this was all part of the quality control process. The same way new designs get torture tested during development in Shanghai, the factory does the same extensive testing as part of spot inspections for each batch of components produced. The motors undergo similar loading and accelerated lifespan testing to ensure they are all performing as intended, and that there aren’t any deviations from one production batch to another.

The next stop was to see how controllers were made, and that involved getting suited up and heading into the company’s clean room facility. There, automated pick and place machines built up circuit boards that then passed through various soldering machines to produce the circuit boards. The process and outputs are all monitored using high-precision 3D optical imaging, allowing the workers to inspect each solder joint from many angles and ensure all the components are properly soldered to the board. Many of these components are too small to inspect with the naked eye, and so this type of imaging and analysis allows the company to ensure every tiny little leg and every minuscule drop of solder is not only correctly placed, but also properly soldered so it doesn’t shake loose 10,000 miles from now.

Next, conformal coating is applied to electronics, creating a waterproof barrier that prevents water vapor from corroding the metals and circuits.

Each of these steps is a small but critical part of the manufacturing process, ensuring that the components produced in Ananda’s factories perform their required functions not just at the start of a product’s life, but also for many years to come.

Rooftop solar array

The last stop of the tour was something I was surprised to see. Before I left the factory, I was led up to the roof where a large solar array gathered much of the energy used by the factory.

While it doesn’t cover 100% of the company’s energy usage, it does offset a large portion and helps to further promote the same message that the electric vehicles using Ananda’s components share: that how we generate and use energy has a major impact on our environment.

These types of steps go a long way to reducing our own harmful effects on the planet. Humans will always need to travel around their cities, and using two-wheeled electric vehicles is one of the most energy-efficient ways to do it. If companies can offset as much of the emissions generated from producing those vehicles, then all the better.

The takeaway

I’ve known of Ananda’s electric motors for years, and in fact built some of my first e-bikes with their motors over a decade ago. But I had no idea how large Ananda had grown and just how much of the entire e-bike system they now produce.

Far from just another e-bike motor manufacturer, Ananda is truly an entire system integrator. Producing everything from displays to controllers and every type of motor you can think of, Ananda has positioned itself as a leader in the micromobility space.

You don’t make 10 million motors a year and several million more controllers and other components without learning a thing or two about how important the quality and precision of those manufacturing processes truly are.

The company has obviously taken all of that learning to heart, developing a high-tech and highly automated design and manufacturing system that has grown into a massive operation.

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The Invanti Tornado is the Swiss Army knife of e-bikes [Video]

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The Invanti Tornado is the Swiss Army knife of e-bikes [Video]

Want your electric bike to have utility as well as comfort and style? Then, the Invanti Tornado, with its impressive array of optional accessories, could be your ideal ride.

Invanti is developing multi-functional e-bikes to reinvent the e-bike industry. It will launch an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign on May 22 for its first product, the versatile Tornado e-bike series. Early backers can purchase the Tornado for a super early bird price of $1,299, significant savings vs. gas bikes.

Invanti makes it easy to protect your e-bike from theft with its “invantimobility” app. The smart version Tornado Pro has a smart front hub lock feature that, once activated, can only be unlocked using the app.

This zippy and efficient utility e-bike has a 750W rear hub motor, 1,000 peak power, and a 48V 14.7Ah battery with Samsung cells that give a top speed of up to 25 mph. The Shimano 7-speed transmission, 80 mm travel suspension, 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes, and torque sensor means riding is smooth. It also sports a pair of 20-by-3-inch puncture-resistant tires.

The Tornado provides a range of 60 miles on pedal assist and 25 miles on throttle only. You can additionally install an extra 48V, 10.4Ah battery that you take with you, giving a cumulative total of 100 miles on pedal assist and 43.5 miles on throttle only. Plus, you can use the extra battery as a portable powerbank for your phone.

What makes the Invanti Tornado stand out is the cool accessories it comes with. Your e-bike arrives with a front rack, a rear cargo rack, a rear fork storage bag with lockout, and rear wheel mudguards. It also features front and rear lights with integrated turn signals.

Plus, it offers a choice of nine upgrade accessories, which give this bike an almost modular feel. This means you can make your e-bike bespoke:

If you want to cart around passengers, you can make it happen with the Invanti Tornado’s optional rear seat pad and passenger foot rest, and there’s also a child safety handrail. Its dual-tube aluminum alloy frame can handle payloads of up to 440 pounds.

Invanti’s super early bird price on the Tornado is $1,299, and the official crowdfunding price is $1,499.

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This startup is about to install bladeless rooftop wind turbines on box buildings

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This startup is about to install bladeless rooftop wind turbines on box buildings

Aeromine Technologies just closed a $9 million funding round, and it’s ready to scale up production of its bladeless rooftop wind turbines.

Energy research, investing, and strategy firm Veriten is the lead investor in Aeromine Technologies’ Series A funding round.

Aeromine, launched in 2022, makes compact 50 kW or larger “wind harvesting platforms” that it mounts on the edge of a building’s roof. The rooftop wind units, which have no external moving parts or blades, capture wind flowing up and over the building and convert it into onsite electricity. Its generator system is a rotor-stator system with a highly efficient 5 kW permanent magnet generator. (Specs are here.)

The noiseless technology leverages aerodynamics like airfoils on a race car to capture and amplify each building’s airflow to generate energy. Aeromine says its systems typically consist of 20-40 units installed on the edge of a building facing the predominant wind direction.

Each 1,000-pound unit can withstand winds of between 120 and 158 mph depending on specification.

Aeromine’s units can operate independently or be integrated with existing rooftop solar arrays. Onsite power generation eliminates grid supply disruptions.

Maynard Holt, founder & CEO of Veriten, said:

We believe that distributed power innovation will play a vital role in helping companies fulfill their need for reliable, reasonably priced electricity and desire for low-impact power. We’re excited to partner with Aeromine, as its ability to quickly and affordably help a wide variety of companies meet their energy needs with wind resources is unique among distributed energy solutions.

The bladeless wind turbines are designed to power apartment buildings, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, offices, hospitals, retail centers – basically any big box building with a flat, unobstructed roof.

The company says it has 400 qualified projects in its pipeline and expects to roll out commercially in Europe and North America in 2025. 

Read more: How renewables could beat natural gas in US generating capacity within 3 years – in numbers


If you live in an area that has frequent natural disaster events, and are interested in making your home more resilient to power outages, consider going solar and adding a battery storage system. To make sure you find a trusted, reliable solar installer near you that offers competitive pricing, check out EnergySage, a free service that makes it easy for you to go solar. They have hundreds of pre-vetted solar installers competing for your business, ensuring you get high quality solutions and save 20-30% compared to going it alone. Plus, it’s free to use and you won’t get sales calls until you select an installer and share your phone number with them.

Your personalized solar quotes are easy to compare online and you’ll get access to unbiased Energy Advisers to help you every step of the way. Get started here. –ad*

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Ford likely to enable all dealers to sell EVs amid shifting plans

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Ford likely to enable all dealers to sell EVs amid shifting plans

With changes expected to Ford’s electric vehicle certification program, all Ford dealers will likely be able to sell EVs. Ford is reportedly preparing to open the program amid feedback from its dealers.

Ford poised to open dealers network to sell EVs

After asking dealers to pause EV investments this week, Ford is finalizing changes to the program. Ford already eased requirements last year due to “changes in the market.”

Ford spokesperson Marty Gunsberg confirmed that several dealers opted out of the program this past December. Gunsberg said, “Enrollments for 2024 are just over 50% of the network.” That’s down from about two-thirds confirmed by CEO Jim Farley a year prior.

According to Automotive News, after a series of meetings between dealers and executives, Ford is now preparing to allow all dealers to sell EVs.

Ford is expected to update the financial requirements needed to qualify. Previously, dealers were required to invest at least $500,000 to enroll in the program. For $1.2 million, dealers could be eligible for the “Elite” tier, which included additional chargers, demo units, and a presence on Ford.com.

Ford-dealers-EVs
Ford Mustang Mach E at a Tesla Supercharger (Source: Ford)

If dealers didn’t want to invest, they couldn’t sell Ford EVs. Ford’s vice president of EV programs, Lisa Drake, said the company no longer believes having select dealers sell EVs is the right plan.

More dealers want in but with less financial commitment

“What we’re finding is more dealers want to be involved in it and we don’t want to be exclusive to just a handful,” Drake said. “And so we’re making a change where we’re opening up that and not requiring as many certifications or investments for a dealer to participate in the EV revolution.”

Meanwhile, the changes will not be finalized until early June, when Ford meets with its dealer council.

Ford-dealers-EVs
2024 Ford F-150 Lightning lineup (Source: Ford)

It’s unclear how much Ford will reduce financial requirements to sell EVs, but many believe it will be drastically relaxed to promote participation.

Drake said Ford will be “more ubiquitous with our training and make sure essentially all of our dealers are equipped to sell them” going forward. Ford will need to figure out how to deal with those who have already made investments at the upcoming dealer council meeting.

Ford-dealers-EVs
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Bronze edition (Source: Ford)

Ford slashed prices on its popular Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning in recent months to boost sales.

After cutting Mach-E prices by up to $8,100 earlier this year, Ford introduced a new 0% APR offer on 2024 models this week.

2024 Mustang Mach-E trim Range Starting Price
Mustang Mach-E Select 250 mi $39,995
Mustang Mach-E Premium 320 mi $43,995
Mustang Mach-E GT 280 mi $53,995
Mustang Mach-E Rally 265 mi $59,995
2024 Mustang Mach-E price and range by trim

Ford also introduced new discounts on the 2023 F-150 Lightning this week, offering up to $15,000 off MSRP. F-150 Lightning lease prices were cut by over $400 a month.

If you’re in the market for a new EV, now’s the time to start shopping. You can use our links below to find deals on Ford’s electric vehicles at a dealer near you.

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