So we get a lot of questions from people about our products and how we actually develop them. This made us realize that it might be an interesting idea to explain the whole R&D process that each product has to go through before it is an actual product that is ready to be put in your car!
Since we have over 500 different products for a wide variety of cars, we of course cannot create a step by step story about each product, so we decided to use footage from multiple accessories that we have created for some different car models!
Find a comfortable seat and put on some reading glasses if needed, because there are quite some steps the product has to go through before the idea is realized into an actual physical product!
Finding the right car model
It all starts by keeping track of the best selling car models and filtering out which cars will keep selling for a while, since there goes quite a big investment in the development of these products, you do not want to put money into the development for accessories of a car that only sold well for a month. So we track the sales for at least 6 months after the cars release date!
Although a high number of sales is a good sign of potential business, this still does not set everything in stone. Now the real research only begins.
Deciding if the car is suited
The big number of sales is as stated before a really good sign that this car model has the potential to be chosen for the product development! But just some numbers are not nearly enough evidence to make such a big investment and gamble on this specific model, now we got to find out if this car is in need of any improvements and if the community driving this car, is also in search of these accessories. A very big factor to look out for is the car manufacturer itself, since they sometimes provide the cars with a lot of accessories themselves already. Then we will not be of any use to the community, unless we can provide the accessories with a cheaper price and a higher quality.
Now I hear you think. But how do you actually figure these things out then? Well, by spending some time amongst the community of this car. We join forums and groups for the cars and read what people like and dislike about their newly acquired vehicles! For all their dislikes we will try to come up with solutions to help make the car even better and to improve the overall experience of driving the EV. With our own experience in the R&D for cars we will also look ourselves into the car to check if we can spot potential weaknesses or flaws, so we can try to prevent them for you before they will hinder you in any way!
Sketching products on paper
After finding out if the car has potential and brainstorming of the needed accessories, we will need to turn the ideas into reality. First the product will need to be sketched and matched with the style of the specific car, the only problem will then be that a random sketch can look good, but we will need to have actual sizes for it to be tailor made and fitting for the real car. This means that we have to get our hands on one of those cars so that we can scan the cars dimensions into the computer.
Finding the actual car
Since we simply do not possess the resources to buy these cars, we need to find different ways of obtaining the vehicle to perform our 3D scans on it. We always try to see if somebody in our network has bought the specific car, but it is not always this easy.
When we are not able to get the car via acquaintances, we go back to the very basics of finding what you’re looking for. FaceBook! We will just ask politely if somebody has the car and if they would like to help us with the project and in return of this favour, we will of course give all the products for free to this kind person. But sometimes even FaceBook is not able to help us out, so then we need to rely on our social skills to find this car, we just wait patiently until we see them drive around on the street and explain our project to the owner in hope that they will find it interesting enough to help us!
Performing the 3D-scan
Until now we have always managed to get our hands on the targeted cars. When we have finally managed to find somebody who is willing to let us borrow their car, we can start arranging a day to perform our 3D scan! For this we work with a 3rd party that performs the scans for us. These scans require absolute precision, it may only be off for 0,001 millimetre for our products to have a perfect fit.
We arrange a date and go to the car together with our scanning party and we make sure that every part we need gets scanned, for this we use our sketches to show exactly what parts of the car need to be scanned.
Creating the product on the computer
After the scan is finished, we can finally start to tailor our products into the real dimensions of the car! For this we use computer software to recreate our sketches and to fit these products onto the 3D model of the car.
Making the prototype
Once the products are fitted on the 3D model, we can make a first mould! We use very detailed machinery to make sure that this mould is exactly the size of the model that we made in the computer.
When the first mould is done, we of course need to try if these measurements are the right ones before using it to mass produce the products, so we will create our first prototype with the newly made mould. With this prototype we go back to the car and make sure it fits perfectly on every corner!
After the prototype is perfectly fitted to the dimensions of the car, we will start the production of this product. This work is done by some complicated machines in our factory that are operated by our specialized engineers, to make sure everything is done safely and according to all the regulations.
When we have a big batch of the products ready and we have checked if the quality is up to our standards, they will be shipped in containers to our warehouse, and it is time to make sure they get safely to our EV community!
Hopefully this post will give all of you some insight of what we exactly do and how your accessories are developed!