Charging Bullet is a documentary about the sustainable transport of a cleaner future.
We’re taking a battery-powered 1961 Royal Enfield ‘Bullet’ the length of the country: from Lands End to John o’Groats. Along the journey we’ll meet engineers pioneering the technologies which make this possible: hydrogen car builders, electric super-bike racers and biogas bus boffins.
Fred is the film’s friendly face. He’s lovingly restored the motorbike and created the Charging Bullet for this iconic road trip. Join us on a voyage of discovery as we take a unique vehicle over 1,000 miles through Britain’s great green yonder.
The Story So Far
We began filming in January as Fred set to work lovingly restoring the frame and cycle parts, putting to one side the engine and gearbox and replacing them with a hand-crafted steel subframe. This bolts to the original engine mounts and carries the motor, controller, charger and the all important battery pack.
The bike will hold twelve Nissan leaf battery modules (of four cells each) to store 5kWh of charge, an extra six in panniers will give 7.5kWh for touring. The motor is a British built brushed DC axial flux design, giving 8.5kW continuous and 16kW peak at the bike’s 48V.
Alongside route planning, we're finalising our research and arranging brilliant contributors to feature in the film. Things are slotting into place for our October departure but we need your support to get the show on the road.
Why Your Support is Critical
We’ve self-funded the restoration of the bike for commuting but to make this project happen we need to cover additional bike, film and travel expenses.
Ever the workhorse, the Charging Bullet is designed for short trips and long charge times. For touring, however, long distances and short charge times are required and as such there are a few expedition essentials required:
- Range-extending battery packs give us the distance we need between charging points
- A fast-charger rapidly refills the batteries so we can cover more miles each day
- A type 2 connector plugs us in to roadside recharging stations where the Bullet's standard 13 amp domestic plug doesn't cut the mustard
We're supporting talented musicians to compose our soundtrack. A portion of our budget is being spent on licensing, meaning we have the film rights to this music.
Our Kickstarter pledges are being spent on the journey: covering campsite costs, meals and the odd cup of tea.
Here's a breakdown of where our budget is going:
None of the team are getting paid, there's no surplus and nothing is being kept as profit. Anything we raise over our target will be invested in the journey and making the best film possible.
Meet the Team
Sent to the subcontinent from Redditch in '61 as a kit of parts, the Bullet served many years in the Indian army before being sold on. A bike's life in the developing world is a hard one and by the time it was discovered in a New Delhi market and imported back to Blighty it was in a terrible state. Testament to the rugged design Fred commuted on the bullet for a year before stripping it down for some much needed TLC.
With the the Bullet on the ‘intensive care’ bench, a radical decision was made and soon it would rise from the ashes, no longer a post-war military dinosaur but a battery powered phoenix ready to show us a brighter future.
Fred is a naturally charismatic engineer. If he wasn't such a dab-hand on the spanners he'd be wasted in the workshop, where he spends his days restoring the historic racing cars of the ’50’s and 60’s. When he can, he turns his attention to two wheels, restoring classic British machines as well as developing new designs. Fred's an environmental enthusiast and optimistic about Britain's place in engineering a cleaner global future.
Finn is an award-winning filmmaker with ten years experience in documentaries. His sharp visual style and rich narratives give his work unique character and charm. He's excited to make 'Charging Bullet', following his belief in a more sustainable future.
Becca, who has run charity campaigns and written for national magazines, is now turning her hand to managing our press and social activity. If you send us a message it’s this ray of sunshine you’re talking to.
Thanking Our Sponsors
Aberration - the production company who employ Finn are giving us access to their equipment and facilities, and providing the support vehicle we need for the filming.
Spaven Engineering - this project would not be possible without Fred's knowledge and passion: the countless hours of thinking and tinkering are a true labour of love.
Holden Vintage & Classic - have been eager supporters from the very beginning, helping us with contributions to the early build components and publicising our progress.
Risks and challenges
While Fred is an exceptionally talented engineer, there's a chance that the bike may break down. It's a unique creation and with that is an element of unpredictability. Along with Finn and the filmmaking kit, we'll have a supply of tools and materials in the van. And in a worst-case scenario we have a bike trailer which we can use to get us to a workshop for more serious repairs.
The weather may be rubbish, which is a shame for us as we'll get wet. But for viewers at home it's just added authenticity.
Our departure could be postponed by injury or ill health. While all arrangements are for us to set off in October 2018, we do have a contingency in place which would see us set sail in Spring 2019.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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