In an interview with Fast Company, Brompton CEO Will Butler-Adams tells them about the brand’s growth, manufacturing, margins and such, which is an interesting read, but the nugget that jumps out is this bit as they stroll through the R&D department:
Before Will runs me round the factory, he leads me to their R&D department–or, rather, a tiny passage leading into the factory’s yard. Parked up there is a black Brompton with a matt metal box attached to the left handlebar. It’s a battery. On the right handlebar is what looks like a plastic sleeve with three LED-illuminated settings. “Try that for size,” says Will. “Crank your right hand and see what happens.” I set off around the estate. As I turn the corner into the next plot, I twist the plastic sleeve and almost go into the back of a Mercedes truck.
Apparently, it’s a prototype for a model that’ll be introduced in 2011, and they’re working on using “smart pedals” to gauge the amount of pedal force, then apply an appropriate amount of assist. Sweet. We’ve got a Trek here with the standalone Bion-X motor and battery and it’s a blast…adding power to a folder should be pretty awesome for city dwellers if they can make it light enough to carry up a few flights of stairs.