• Frederick Rickmann

The right product at the WRONG time

Its exciting to be a front-runner. But frustrating as well. The right product at the WRONG time is a dilemma that haunts many a break-through. The job of a designer is to think well ahead - to be living a good few years in the future. The reason is that it takes a good many years to develop new products and solutions and then also to bring them to public attention. We have to be miles ahead of the market. The downside is that many products that could have been really awesome today, were trashed years ago. Trashed by whom? By the press, by corporate purchasers, by shorter sighted investors.


The hydrogen scooter is a great example.

The hydrogen-electric scooter was developed through prototypes into the production stage by our team of designers and technologists. That was 16 years ago in 2005. The scooter ran on an electric motor powered by 2 hydrogen fuel cells. These power cells were easy to change. It took a minute or so to tank up the scooter to full power.

What could be more right for these times of climate change and CO2 reduction? Anna Thunberg was 2 year old at the time! An ultra quiet, fast, non-polluting urban vehicle that didn't take forever to recharge. No large heavy batteries needed. It was amazing to be at the forefront of this technology. But the market wasn't right. The scooter manufacturers weren't ready for it. The press more or less ignored the project. And as the press ignored it so did the political establishment.

However its great to see that hydrogen technology is beginning to be explored again for trains, trucks and buses. At last - in 2021. I enjoyed buzzing around the streets in 2005 with a frightening amount of silent acceleration. The frustration now is that we could have done much more at the time.

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