Yesterday’s impossiblilites are what inspire the innovations we will create today…

The little engine that could

The Little Engine that couldn’t, wouldn’t and shouldn’t but did...

Bill invented a theoretical modular electric motor concept back in the late 70’s. At that time the technologies required to make this dream a cost effective and practical reality simply did not exist. In 2005 Bill found himself presented with an opportunity for this technology to be actualized. It all began when his friend Sara Troy showed him a letter and began explaining the concept for a new business venture  that her and another friend of hers were in the process of building. The letter that she presented along with her description of the purpose and meaning to how this business venture was going to serve the betterment of humanity resonated in harmony  with his own personal journey in life. Her business venture involved importing electric bikes in North America. From the revenues generated from the sales of the bike a percentage was to be directed into supporting other peoples Humanitarian work efforts. At the end of the conversation Sara asked Bill to do something for her that would change the directs that both our lived would take. Bill and his eldest son were very active in the extreme mountain biking world. Sara asked Bill to take the sample of the electric bike she had home with for a few days  and give her his honest evaluation of it.

This is where our story begins to take a very unexpected twist. Bill took the bike home and over the next few days he had everyone in his family test out the bike. Everyone found the bile to be a blast to ride. Acceleration provided by the electric motor got the adrenaline flowing, the ability to climb up steep hills effortlessly was a godsend, the practicality of being able to travel quickly over long distances with out ever breaking a sweat was refreshing. Most importantly the bike worked well as a typical bike under pedal power only. This sounds like the bike would provide the perfect solution for Sara’s business. So you are probably scratching you head wondering how this could possibly change the direction of Sara and Bill’s lives so profoundly. Now we will explain the other things that Bill and his family discovered:

  • The overall construction and component quality of the bike would lead to serious reliability issues over a short period of time– impeding warranty and servicing nightmare!
  • The bike was very poorly balanced which caused some pretty serious handling and safety issues- impending huge legal liability and safety issues.
  • Consumer cost to benefit ratio  on the pricing model was way to low!!! Very hard to sell at the suggested retail price. Due largely in part to the massive duties and tariffs placed on imported fully assembled bikes.

Now Bill found himself in a very difficult situation of having to give Sara both the good and bad news about the bikes. Sara’s business concept was very sound and had  high potential to succeed, the problem was that the product she was planning to sell would have ultimately crippled the business from ever achieving that full potential. The night before Bill and Sara were to meet up so he could deliver the good and bad news of his findings and still unsure of how he was going to tell Sara the overall impact his findings would have on her business, he found himself helping his son turn up his bike for the next days ride. Bill was working on the disk barking system on the bike while his son was rebuilding the suspension system. As Bill was dissembling the and bleeding the  disk  brake lines am image popped into his head… Image of a really cool electric motor based on research work Bill had done back in university, that could be built around the disk braking system on the bike. With in minutes of this Bill’s mind began working on the prototype of how this new electric motor would work. By the next morning Bill knew exactly how to break the news to Sara.

The next Day Bill met up with Sara armed with his new innovative bike motor concept along with all the other news he had to update her with. He started off the meeting by sharing all the good news, then proceeded to give her all the bad news. At this point Sara was clearly shaken up by his findings. Then Bill took out a piece of paper and began sketching out and explaining this new electric motor concept he came up with the previous evening. How this new electric motor technology could potentially revolutionize how all electric motors are designed and manufactured in the future. Upon hearing Bill’s description of this motor, Sara had an epiphany that no matter what this motor had to built.

Over the next year several other transformations happened in Bill and Sara’s lives. Sara’s original business partner went off to pursue other interests. Bill and Sara became closer friends and Bill continued to build and test literally thousands of prototypes of his motor until he had a design that he knew would work the the very first time they actually build a physical prototype. During this time Bill and Sara approached some of the leading electric motor manufacturing companies in the world to find a controller that could be used to power and operate the prototype. The every single one of them upon hearing Bill describe how his motor worked they all said that’s impossible!!! That it didn’t matter what motor controller you choose the motor will never work!! These are the things that Bill lives to hear from people- it was drives him to achieve the inedible things that he is able accomplish in life.

Now totally in belief that his motor would work, all he had to do is find a way to power and control it… Coming from the pro and consumer audio industry he figured he could just use a car amplifier to provide the variable frequency power required, plus car amplifiers are battery powered so this would also worked nicely for the intend use of the motor on an electric bicycle. Now all he had to do was find something to use to control the motor. What he needed was a device that could create multiple channels a alternating variable frequency and phase alternating current electricity. Solution found, an Apple iPod could do everything Bill needed. All Bill would have to do is dig out his Ableton Live audio software and and his midi keyboard and record a whole bunch of music loops, then down load those into the iPod and done. Complete drive system for the motor done. All we needed was a car amp, batteries to power the car amp and Apple iPod and a few hours of time to record all the audio loops.

By this point Bill and Sara had been working on the project for a little over a year. It was now November 2006 and Bill had everything fully designed and ready to begin building the first physical prototype of the motor. So off they went shopping to get the car amp, batteries, and iPod, a front wheel mountain bike disk brake hub, and a bunch of other material and supplies needed to build the motor. They then took Bill’s CAD drawings down to a local water jet machine shop to get all the custom components fabricated. Over the Christmas break Bill assembled the motor ready for it’s inarguable test. January 1, 2007 was D-day… Bill finished off some minor adjustments and prepared to power up the motor for it inaugural test. There was just one thing that Bill wanted to test out before calling Sara in to witness the motor working. There were only 2 expected outcomes that Bill still had not fully resolved in his head. Neither of which had anything to do with whether the motor worked or not, it was a matter of figuring out which way the drive coils needed to be mounted in order to deliver the best performance. Bill chose to configure the motor to test the one he felt would deliver the worst performance. Low and behold the motor worked when powered up. Now all he had to do is reconfigure the coils the other more optimal way and test again…. After making the changes he called for Sara to join him in the dining room to witness the motor inaugural run. Not only did it work, I sat at the dining room table playing different tone loops from the iPod to vary the power and direction the motor was spinning in and by varying iPod volume control I could adjust the motors speed. At that very moment it time and forevermore we transformed the seemly impossible into a infinite number of yet to be discovered possibilities.

Here’s a video showing the working prototype of a really innovative electric motor technology that everyone said would never work…


Live’n Life Loud!

Thank you for dropping by and visiting today. I just wanted to take a moment to share with you my one true pure passion in life, “Music”. Virtually everything that I have accomplished and learned in life can be directly attributed to music. So take a short break, turn up the volume and tune into “Live’n Life Loud” on Quiesesnce.com by CLICKING HERE

Bill Macquis, founder
The Living Orchard Corporation


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