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New LEV Tech Development Center to offer e-bike drive system support

Published November 21, 2018

WASHINGTON, Missouri (BRAIN) — A new center that will provide a number of services for light electric vehicles, including e-bikes, is slated to open next week just outside of St. Louis. The LEV Tech Development Center shares a building with Mac Motors, a longtime manufacturer of electric motor systems, and will offer everything from complete diagnostic capabilities on a variety of motor systems, product testing, battery service and phone support for retailers.

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Ken Fagut, an industry veteran who spent 25 years as a retailer in upstate New York, several years at BionX and Dahon and currently is CEO and founder of Foldaway Solutions, a distributor for Oyama Bicycles, spearheaded the project. Other stakeholders include Fang Yunzhou of XF Cycle; Evan Ballman, owner of Mac Motor USA; Barry Reimer, CFO of Foldaway Solutions; Damon Du, co-owner of Mac Motor Shanghai; Paul Lynch of battery supplier EM3ev; and veteran bicycle engineer Mike Fritz, who sits on the board.

Fagut said LEV Tech is the first center of its kind in the U.S., and something he has wanted to develop for many years.

"There are places dabbling in service, but no one is jumping in to provide all the services and support that dealers and OEMs need in one place. This [e-bike] growth is skyrocketing, and there are more bikes, more motors, more controllers and batteries that could be problematic and need service," said Fagut, CEO of LEV Tech. "We'll also be a battery service center because we feel there is a need as battery warranties expire."

The battery service will launch early next year, providing service and support for retailers. A partnership with EM3ev will allow LEV Tech to design and build complete batteries in house.

"We can create different size modules, like we are doing for Santana tandems. Customers who want to travel with their tandems can break down the bike, but it's a challenge with electric versions because of airline battery restrictions," Fagut said. "So we can create smaller modules, and each rider can bring two battery packs in their carry on. We can build full custom systems like this, all done at the center. Some companies don't have all the technology or engineering on hand, but we have real motor and battery experts in house and are able to take care of all services in one place."

LEV Tech will also warehouse parts for various systems and can manage all aspects of service and support for partnering brands, including Santana, Birria, Ohm Cycles and others. But Fagut said it won't take in every product.

"Unless it's a known product, we'll test it and if it's not acceptable to our standards, we'll give a report telling them why. But we can help them hit our standards. We don't want to be in a situation where we've got bad product and we can't provide support — there is nothing worse," he said. "There is just too much junk out there and we can't take liability for all of it."

LEV Tech will open with one full-time customer service staff, and will share some employees with Mac Motor. Fagut said more employees will be added depending on demand, and that there is room to grow within Mac's facility.

"We are an experienced team. There is an economy of scale using us. You don't have to have a staff, you don't have to have the space. It's very costly to set up your own center," Fagut said. "We'll offer a subscription service. Quarterly, annually or per diem is fine, too."

 

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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