09 December 2014

Protecting The Body (Or Bicycle) Electric

I can still remember when it was a big deal to see a Mercedes-Benz or BMW, much less a Porsche, on the road--at least here in the US.  I think I saw maybe two Jaguars before I turned thirty.

The joke was that you had to be really rich to drive a "Jag"--or to call it that--because you couldn't own just one.  The other was in the garage, especially after a rainy day.

One of my brothers told me that.  Back in the day, he fixed them, and other luxury cars, in a garage that catered to all manner of high-income (and high-maintenance) customers. He privately laughed at folks who spent $50,000 (probably $150,000-$200,000 in today's dollars) for "a car that doesn't start in the rain".  Garages that serviced "Jags" used to get death threats from customers who discovered its most unfortunate feature when the weather turned frightful.

The problem, according to my brother and others familiar with those vehicles, was the Lucas electrical system which, as one engineer joked, "hasn't changed since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution".  Another joke said that the English drink warm beer because Lucas makes their refrigerators.

From what I understand, Jaguars' electrical systems have been redesigned and better-protected against the elements. One would think (Gotta talk like the Queen now--she never uses first or second person!) that Jags, coming from soggy England, would have been so designed all along.

I got to thinking about that today when I saw a guy making a delivery on an electric bike--in a downpour.  I wondered whether any of those bikes ever shorted out or were otherwise disabled by the weather.

Apparently, it's happened--or someone has realized that it could: an e-bike shop near me is offering these shields:

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