Manufacturing motorcycles for full scale production is a very different discipline than building a one-off prototype. We are constantly keeping an eye on quality standards, change control, manufacturing efficiency and scalability of production. Not only do we ensure that every bike rolls off the line according to our quality standards, but we maintain the integrity of each part from quality assurance to finished bike, and complete traceability of every component on every Redshift that rolls out the door. Alta has built a team of experts that have repeatedly done full scale manufacturing at companies such as Toyota, GM, Caterpillar and Bloom. We’ve applied best practices for quality and traceability from the world of automotive manufacturing, while also injecting best practices for rapid development and flexibility from the world of technology. The result is a hybrid process that can keep pace with our product development while ensuring we meet world class manufacturing standards
Designed to run with just 8 skilled technicians, we can build 10 Redshifts a day in our Brisbane, CA factory. We’ve optimized each station to be balanced for cycle time, using tablets with step by step work instructions, with associated part numbers, torque requirements and quality control notes.
To quickly view the assembly process from start to finish, we encourage you to watch this timelapse video.
First, we mount the the rear bulkhead to an assembly cart. This piece is a single block of sand cast A356 aluminum alloy and is the most fundamental structural component of the chassis. We then insert our 11lb PMAC brushless motor into the main cavity of the bulkhead and press in 3.5:1 gear reduction.
Next is the Forged 6061-T6 aluminum alloy front bulkhead. Every Redshift that comes off the line is engraved with its own unique VIN number, which we etch onto the front bulkhead. The front bulkhead not only forms the front of the Redshift chassis, but also acts as a heat sink for for the Redshift system. On the headtube of the front bulkhead we add the steering stem and triple clamps, and then we install the charge port, water pump and silicone hoses for the cooling system within the main frame.
Our custom inverter, which is the motor controller for the Redshift, is now installed along with the wire harnesses to connect the motor to the inverter. Quality is of the utmost importance when assembling the Redshift, so at this point we perform three critical leak inspections of our coolant system, gearbox and electronics cavity. Cincinnati Test System devices are used to pump pressurized air into the system to detect any leaks before the bike moves to the next station.
At Station Four we install the rear shock, swingarm, wire harness, linkage, and then perform an electronics system validation. We connect a temporary battery connection to inspect our wire harness electronic components, and set the timing of the motor.
Suspension is installed at Station 5; we use the WP 4CS fork for the Redshift MX and the WP 4CS SMR forks for the Redshift SM, both of which are built by WP to our custom spec. At this stage, the battery manufacturing line converges with the main manufacturing line, supplying a complete 5.8 kWh pack for installation in the Redshift frame. We then connect the high voltage and data ports of the battery to the chassis and bolt the whole pack in place. Once the skid frame, footpegs and accompanying structural braces are attached (creating third point of reinforcement to hold the chassis together during flex) we use the battery’s low voltage power to run the water pump to fill the system with motor coolant.
While the Redshift’s architecture and build procedure is nearly identical for the two current models throughout the first five stations, it's at Station Six that the process diverges between the MX and SM models. Sub-assembled front wheels, tires, and Regina final drive chains are added according to which model is being produced that day. We then install handlebars, throttle, controls and our custom display, which indicates the speed, maps, state of charge as well as other core bike functions.
The finishing touches of the Redshift are executed here, as our team installs the most defining features of the two models; the bodywork. For the Redshift SM, this is also where we add headlights, tail lights and mirrors. As a final step, the team applies our decal kits.
Now, we flash the Redshift with the final firmware and software programs for the bikes operation. Finally, we do our last quality check by running the Redshift on the dynamometer to check max horsepower, peak torque and assess overall functionality. We then test all the electronic systems and do a multi point QC inspection on torque marks, chain slack and brake gaps.
Alta Motors designs and manufactures the most advanced electric motorcycles in the world. What started as a concept between friends in 2010 has since matured into a full scale Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).