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Dagne Details (2)October 2, 2008 Comments (31)
Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:04 am

We appreciate the continued interest in Dagne. Here are answers to several more questions folks have raised:

1 – Mechanical Braking: As correctly pointed out, vehicle regulations require a mechanical means to stop the vehicle (“electric motor” brakes are not good enough). Since Dagne has calipers/disk brakes on each wheel, she satisfies this regulation. Regulations do not require, however, that a mechanical connection exist between the driver input and the vehicle actuation (drive-by-wire and “drive-by-fluid” are already becoming the norm in the automotive industry). Dagne has redundant control connections between the joystick and vehicle actuators, similar to commercial aircraft. If any connection/component fails, the driver will retain full control of the vehicle, and will be alerted to the location of the failure for ease of repair.

2 – Joystick Origins: Dagne began as an engineer’s quest to design the ideal vehicle from the standpoint of efficiency, performance, and driving experience, without the restriction of current vehicle convention. The joystick was the natural choice for optimal comfort, ease-of-use, and safety.

3 – Joystick Training: Every Dagne customer will receive a brief training course on how to use the joystick. The course won’t take very long (at least compared to learning to drive a standard transmission) because the operation of the joystick is very intuitive.

4 – The Prototype: Due to budgetary constraints in the current phase of development, the current prototype has a simple lead-acid battery pack and a single rear DC motor, which serve the purpose of proving the concept and providing a test driving experience (primarily to raise funds for the company so we can take the next step in development). The specifications for the production vehicle are based on performance numbers of existing batteries, motors, and power electronics currently available to us, and a detailed computer simulation of vehicle performance which we have verified against existing production vehicles.


  1. I guess you would have to get your pilots training sometime… better there than on the 3 day drive home…

    I wonder how long that training would be.

    Comment by byteware — October 2, 2008 @ 11:40 am

  2. Very good information. A question on the joystick functionality though. If the driver takes his/her hand off of the joystick, will it return to the starting position, or remain where it was put? Spring loaded sticks are the norm for most pc/game joysticks, but having one that stay’s put seems like a MUCH better idea in a car. I want to be able to pull back on the stick at a stoplight and have it stay there. Similar with acceleration on the highway (essentially cruise control).

    Comment by Ryan Brown — October 3, 2008 @ 7:42 am

  3. Good question Ryan, I was wondering that myself. For the steering anyway, I think it would definitely be better for it to stay in position.

    That brings up another question I had: If back is stop, where’s reverse? Probably a button somewhere, but it seems the joystick is going to be loaded with buttons as it is.

    I’m getting more excited with each update! Can’t wait to see the next prototype!

    Comment by RAN — October 3, 2008 @ 10:09 am

  4. I was introduced to this site by the venture vehicles forum.
    I love the idea of this vehicle. I like the 2F-1R configuration for stability and the tilting makes this even better. I also prefer the mechanical tilting to the complicated (re: expensive, unreliable) DVC tilting on the carver/venture.
    IMHO you should ditch the front motors, and the hybrid operation. If you can really get 100+ miles from batteries (I think 60+ miles is the sweet spot). A single motor makes it a simpler design and reduces cost, weight, and TIME TO MARKET. It looks like Venture is tanking because of technical complications like this. Meanwhile, Aptera with electric only and a single motor is taking orders and has pre-production on the road. Just get a safe, reliable, simple, inexpensive vehicle out there and then worry about the fancy stuff in the next model (I know easier said then done). Best of luck!! I love the idea!!

    Comment by aal — October 10, 2008 @ 10:17 am

  5. My first question is about how the joystick behaves, too. I’ve always envisioned a drive-by-wire joystick that accelerates the car when pushed forward, stays at the current speed when let-go (and it self-centers), and decelerates when pushed backward… kind of like driving by cruise-control buttons.

    Comment by Dean — October 11, 2008 @ 6:52 am

  6. aal is right. I see so many potential EV vehicle ideas but how many of them are currently oin the market? We need the 21st century version of the Model T or the VW. The KISS principle should be followed here: Two seats, two wheels up front, one in back, one electric motor driving the rear wheel, LiFO Batteries. Skip the stereo, electric windows and any other complexity which will increase R&D and cost, as well as delay production and otherwise kill the program. Without big-time financial backing, this is all that can reasonably be achieved for version 1. It can still be good looking. But certainly best of luck to anyone trying to get one of these to market.

    Comment by EVmark — October 12, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

  7. ***aal said:”IMHO you should ditch the front motors, and the hybrid operation…A single motor makes it a simpler design and reduces cost, weight, and TIME TO MARKET. It looks like Venture is tanking because of technical complications like this. Meanwhile, Aptera with electric only and a single motor is taking orders and has pre-production on the road.***

    Venture’s problems run deeper than simple mechanical complexity. AWD and the serial hybrid are two things that kept me here after the initial once-over.

    I hope that you guys can keep all the specs close to where they are. If price has to slip upwards, I’d rather pay an extra couple or even few thousand and get something that I’m going to be proud to own, drive, talk up, and keep. Venture is trying to cut corners, and they’re going to end up cutting their own throats if you can stay with your program.

    Comment by RAN — October 12, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

  8. Understand RAN’s point of view. Here’s the challenge so far – according to the specs, it has dual front drive motors, a rear drive motor, 15 KW generator with fuel tank, 10KWH battery pack, joystick control (which is presumably partial or complete fly by wire), touch screen interface, etc. And this is supposed to be priced under $20,000. It just doesn’t add up. If they keep the specs close to where they are now, the price will not “slip” upward, it will “rocket” upward, and the release date of 2011 will be 2012, 2013, . . . Rather than promising the moon and having to scale back to a lot less, better to have a reasonably achievable plan – and then actually achieve it.

    Comment by EVmark — October 13, 2008 @ 5:52 pm

  9. Understand EVmark’s point of view. It may well be that, by the time the smoke clears, the price has gone up and the features have come down, but I have a feeling that Ben, Eric, Robin, Stephen, Balaji, Rich and Paul have a little better idea of how to put this all together than Venture Vehicles does. Just a vibe I get from what I’ve seen here, plus the fact that they are on to building their 2nd running prototype already. They haven’t been out yenta-ing it up with the media with rough sketches and someone else’s vehicle they plastered with their decals; they’ve been busy *building.* One way or the other, I think this is going to be the vehicle worth waiting for. I will, however, keep my skin-shredding pliers handy if they try to put the release date off another year. :-{)]

    Comment by RAN — October 13, 2008 @ 7:49 pm

  10. FWIW, I tend to agree with RAN: The team at Revolution are techies with a clear understanding of what Dagne entails. I’m confident they’ve based their technical AND cost projections on what they know to be feasible. All the technology already exists, and pricing would reflect buying that technology in quantity. My bet is they’ll come in largely as projected, both in price and features. Simply stated, the world is ready for Dagne, and the WalMart principle will prevail: Sell a s&#tload of Dagnes at a modest profit margin, as opposed to selling only a few at large markup.

    Hurry up, Revolution guys, ’cause we’re waiting with our checkbooks.

    Comment by BeerBrewer — October 14, 2008 @ 5:26 am

  11. All good points. Actually building and testing is a big difference which should help them succeed. I hope I’m wrong with my pessimism but the road to “production” is strewn with a number good potential vehicles. Also, and somewhat off point, I hope these guys put some thought into their communications with the public (aka, potential buyers). Most of these EV firms lack any communication skills and kill their potential client base before-the-fact.

    Comment by EVmark — October 14, 2008 @ 6:38 am

  12. I like the communication scheme they are using now. They post something every couple of weeks. They answer emails same day, with as much information as they can provide. It’s a (mostly) one sided communication structure.

    I’ll be happy if they continue to post information every couple of weeks.

    Comment by byteware — October 14, 2008 @ 8:57 am

  13. Agreed. Every couple of weeks would be good. I’d even accept once a month. Even if it is to say “hey, we are still testing and have X more miles on the prototype.” I’d like to get the impression that it is at least moving forward. It’s the 6 months and counting lack of currency I see from some vendors which drives me crazy.

    Comment by EVmark — October 14, 2008 @ 9:28 am

  14. Questions regarding the tilting mechanism.
    Is it completely mechanical?
    Are there hydraulics?
    Is there a computer controlling the tilt?

    After looking at the Mercedes F300 I see that the tilt is computer controlling hydraulics.


    Comment by aal — October 14, 2008 @ 10:01 am

  15. I’m enjoying the updates so far. As others have said, this vehicle seems to address all the lingering concerns I’ve had about the V1 so far. I’m sure you guys are getting sick of being compared to Venture, but you’ve gotta understand that a lot of us are excited to get our hands on an enclosed, tilting 3-wheeler, so there is bound to be a constant comparison.

    That said, what we REALLY need is VIDEO. I don’t care if it’s a low-quality cell phone video posted on youtube. You guys have a real live working prototype, and I want to see that bad boy moving, carving the turns. Please?

    Comment by MustardMan — October 15, 2008 @ 10:31 am

  16. I’ve wanted a Messerschmitt (enclosed 3-wheeled ‘scooter/car’) ever since I saw my first one back in the 60’s. An AWD electric one that ’tilts’, would be HEAVEN.

    I like the idea of an ‘early release KIT’ so that the company could gain some revenue (and obtain some valuable ‘feedback’ from the field) before going into full production. I just hope that it is designed so that later ‘body panels’ can be easily added to bring it close to the ‘PRODUCTION MODEL’.

    Comment by Roger W. — October 16, 2008 @ 9:38 am

  17. I love the concept of the Dagne. It’s hard to know where to start but here goes. I was a professional bus driver for many years and I have always gone on long car trips across our country on vacations over the years. I have a lot of driving experience in all kinds of conditions. For most of us, a joy stick is an unknown factor and I’m sure it would not be a problem for short trips. I’m concerned that arm and hand fatigue may be a problem with the joy stick on long road trips, especially for those who are susceptible to tunnel carpal syndrome. If that proves to not be a problem then the use of a joy stick sounds very exciting. Your specification sheet indicates that the Dagne will go 0-60 in 5 seconds. If that is true then WOW!!! I used to drag race and I would love to experience 0-60 in 5 seconds. Tesla roadster, I’m right behind you and for less than $20,000. You mention that it has a trunk, but will it carry 3 bags of groceries and 2 gallons of milk for the housewife or scuba gear for the diver? And don’t forget golf clubs for the golfer which has always been the standard for a 2 seat sports car. And dare we dream of heating and air conditioning and a sound system…and still keep the price down in the low $20,000 range? Recharging the batteries would not be a problem for me as I already have solar panels on my roof. I have a 120 volt and a 220 volt outlet available to me. I’m assuming that I would be able to recharge the batteries using my 120 volt outlet. But would I also be able to utilize the 220 volt outlet to realize an even faster charge for the batteries? That would be a nice feature to be able to utilize 120 and/or 220 volts for recharging. Have you looked into the safety testing requirements of both the state and federal governments before they will let you offer the Dagne for sale? I have heard horror stories about how long it takes just to get them to test a car. I hope that aspect doesn’t interfere with your production deadline. Thanks for all your efforts and please keep us up to date on your progress.

    Comment by mickeycaug — October 18, 2008 @ 1:40 am

  18. All at Revolution Motors,

    Please don’t try and make this vehicle multi-tasking. If someone wants to carry golf clubs or scuba gear then they should buy a vehicle capable of that task. I want the Dagne to be good at two things:

    1. Getting me to work safely, cheaply and with a smile on my face.
    2. Allow me and my wife to have some driving fun on the weekend without breaking the bank with fuel prices.

    The Dagne can’t be all things to all people. Just stay with the plan guys, you have a winner. The only problem I see for you is getting funding and still be allowed to create the vehicle of your dreams rather than it being corrupted by the bean counters.

    Are you starting a pre-production order list?

    Comment by Charles — October 22, 2008 @ 1:49 am

  19. Perfectly said, Charles.
    I want this vehicle soonest. But let’s be realistic about the vehicle design and usage. Some peoples hopes for this vehicle reminds me of pictures of old model T trucks carrying loads that could fill 2-3 trailers! Getting to work safely, cheaply and with a smile, and fun weekend driving is precisely where this vehicle fits. Future design changes comes on later models. But first, let’s get it out to the public and let the design prove itself.
    So when can I get one for here in Alaska?

    Comment by AKP23 — October 22, 2008 @ 12:05 pm

  20. Yes keeping it simple for the first model makes sense. If someone wants extra capacity I’m sure it wouldn’t be to hard to rig up a way to tow a motorcycle trailer.

    Comment by jmeineck — October 24, 2008 @ 12:57 pm

  21. My questions on the trunk space was an attempt to find out how much trunk space there is. I guess just stating the cubic foot capacity would be adequate. However, I can’t help but think that for those people who live in cold weather climates, such as the gentleman from Alaska, would really appreciate at least a heater. Otherwise he will have to dress like Todd Palin does when he is competing in a snowmobile race.

    Comment by mickeycaug — October 24, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

  22. I totally love this thing. I know people are concerned about the joystick only being on one side. I was a helicopter pilot for 10 years… I never… ever had any sort of fatigue. Keep it on the right side and stick to your plan.
    I am waiting with my checkbook in hand.

    Comment by Warren11050 — November 8, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

  23. Hi All at RM,

    Is there any news on funding for the next stage of the vehicle’s developement? It’s a shame that the big three look like getting a bailout to produce more cr$p when inventive companies struggle to secure resources.

    Is there any news on the power source for the batteries (gas turbine?)?

    Have you thought about creating a public company i.e. selling stock in Revolution Motors?

    Is there any chance of organizing the blog a little better? Something similar to Flytheroadclub.com would be great.

    We hope to hear from you soon guys.



    Comment by Charles — December 12, 2008 @ 8:18 am

  24. Thank you for your comments and concerns Charles. Unfortunately we do not yet have any news on the funding front, but we are still hard at work trying to get the resources we need. We are still proceeding on the design of the production prototype, but the rate of progress is limited under the circumstances (when we built the first prototype we still had personal funds to burn to keep things moving). Going public is not a viable option for us at this point, and probably not something we will ever want to do because we would rather retain control of our company.

    Be patient with us – I’m certain we’ll get through this rough period. Once our machinery gets lubricated with a little money, we will move very quickly.

    Comment by Ben Werner — December 12, 2008 @ 10:20 am

  25. We’re all pulling for you and your crew at RM, Ben. You’ve got a line of folks out here just salivating to get their hands on a Dagne. Keep knocking on those venture capitalists’ doors. (Even if you went public, you could still retain controlling interest in your company.) Now… find that money so I can get MY Dagne!


    Comment by BeerBrewer — December 19, 2008 @ 11:48 am

  26. Hope everyone at RM is enjoying the Holidays, and ready for the hard work ahead. A couple questions; first, any decisions on the doors, number, location, and type. For such a ‘radical’ vehicle, no need to be STANDARD. I think a Driver’s left-side door, Passenger’s right-side door; and BOTH with an opening method similar to Raven’s ‘scissor door’ would be ideal and unique.
    Second, I would also like to see the capability to pull a lightweight motorcycle-style trailer (for a tent and camping gear on those ‘get-away weekends’. It would add a bunch of ‘capabilities’, increase the customer base, without altering the BASIC vehicle.
    Third, any thoughts about the Progressive Automotive X-Prize? A couple extra million would help towards ‘production’, and loads of free publicity?!

    Comment by Roger W. — December 21, 2008 @ 10:59 am

  27. Roger, the door type for Dagne is still under consideration, although we are very interested in non-conventional designs. The front runner right now is a design by Jatech, a company based in our area. Check out this video of their technology, and let us know what you think: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAtkoje4-eM
    A motorcycle-style trailer has long been in consideration – you can expect to see one available soon after Dagne’s release. Regarding the X-prize, Revolution is a LOI contender, however, we expected to get funding sooner and have quite a bit more time than we currently have to produce a prototype for the competition. If we get funding this Jan, we will have about 9 months. Our priority is to get a reliable, affordable, production model of Dagne to market ASAP. Competing in the X-prize MAY require a different focus of our efforts, so this will be a critical decision.

    Comment by Ben Werner — December 22, 2008 @ 11:19 am

  28. Ben, the Jatech door is very cool. I’ve seen it previously, and it leads to a couple of considerations: 1) The extremely large opening created by the door would flood the interior during a heavy rain. 2) Windows must be lowered prior to opening, so window motor failure would make the door inoperable. 3) What happens if there’s an electrical failure and the door can’t be lowered? Just things to ponder.

    Comment by BeerBrewer — December 24, 2008 @ 4:27 am

  29. Ben, thanks for the answers.
    A. The Jatech door is fantastic, but I would envision it on a ‘High End Luxury’ vehicle, not an economical lightweight commuter. I wonder if the added expense, weight, battery drain, and complexity would be cost-effective. Also it appears that there may be a ‘conflict’ with the location of the Battery and Generator position.
    B. Good to hear that a ‘trailer option’ is being considered. Since there are already many suitable motorcycle trailers out there, just an initial ‘compatible’ hitch would save you guys the time and effort of ‘designing’ a custom one. A “Dagne Custom” trailer would look nice though.
    C. Good to hear that your priorities are on the Production Vehicle! Hope the funding comes through shortly, so you can get on with the BETA, and perhaps an X-Prize entry. Best Wishes in the NEW YEAR, hopefully ‘Year of the DAGNE’!

    Comment by Roger W. — December 26, 2008 @ 10:41 am

  30. Is there another forum? There are never any new postings at this site.

    Comment by BeerBrewer — February 11, 2009 @ 5:42 am

  31. The joystick is what sold me on this vehicle!

    Comment by Bob Loene — November 16, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

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