I remember Iacocca’s bike was using a
36-volt, 10 amp-hour, lead-acid battery
that weighed 36 pounds. I was using
a 37-volt, 13 amp-hour, nickel battery
that weighed 17 pounds. Just for comparison, in the current Optibike, we use
a 37-volt, 26 amp-hour, double-capaci-ty battery that weighs 10 pounds.
EBA: It seems the old polymer
batteries never really did the job.
Jim: It wasn’t so much that the batteries were bad, it was how they were
built. Computers use polymer batteries,
and there are about 20 laptop fires out
of about four million sold. Statistically,
those fires don’t even exist! I mean,
everybody keeps talking about Tesla
automobiles catching on fire, but look
at all the cars with gas tanks that have
exploded over the years—that seems
like a lot more dangerous technology!
EBA: After all that, what happened
Jim: By 1999 I had built some more
EBA: What is it about e-bikes that
prototypes, but was never able to raise
the capital to go into production, but
I kept plugging away at it. In 2007, it
was still just a part-time operation for
me, but then the New York Times found
us, and I sold every one that I’d made,
which allowed me to move to doing it
Jim: Like I said earlier, they really
speak to all of my main interests in life.
More than that, I think they are that rare
The aluminum case that houses the SIMBB
can be easily removed for service. Inside
you will find not only the motor but also
the battery and controller unit, which help
give the bike a clean overall look.
The higher-end M7 and R8 Optibikes all
use a patented clamshell aluminum frame,
which houses all the electronics inside.