Thursday, June 18, 2015

An open letter to Toshiba and Schwinn regarding the Tailwind Electric Bicycle

To whom it may concern:

In 2008, Toshiba and Schwinn partnered together to create one of the first lithium powered electric bikes, the Schwinn Tailwind.  Right now, many of them are sitting, waiting to be scrapped, because of dead batteries.

An advanced, pedal assist electric bike with a very fast charging lithium battery was revolutionary at the time.  Toshiba used their new SCiB technology, and Schwinn, a long recognized name in bicycles, designed the bike.

Seven years later, in 2015, there are a large number of Tailwinds sitting in garages with dead batteries, and an advanced, undocumented battery management system that nobody will admit to knowing anything about.  I've personally received calls from many people who have dead packs, and know of many additional dead packs that could be revived with the right information.

Schwinn support won't help but suggests talking to the battery manufacturer, and Toshiba suggests calling Schwinn.  The corporate finger pointing doesn't help customers who own one of these bikes and would just like to use their electric bicycle again.

There are diagnostic ports on the battery management circuit board, but nobody knows anything about interfacing with them, despite Schwinn documentation talking about how this advance will make diagnosing bad batteries easy.

If you genuinely care about sustainability, the environment, and keeping bicycles and batteries from being scrapped long before they should be, please provide information about these battery packs so those who have the packs and bikes can keep them running and repair the batteries and bicycle.

I'm currently serving as a source of information for these batteries, so please contact me about how these bikes can be kept out of the scrap heap.

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