The Trail that Brought Us Here; The Story of REVA
It started off with the need of a solution.
Back in high school, I was so obsessed with electrical vehicles that I dedicated nearly 3 years to building my own electric car. Unfortunately, after graduation, my fascination with electric cars subsided once I moved to Gainesville and realized how useless a car was in a college town. Insane traffic, a lack of parking, and a campus that was designed for foot traffic means that commuting via car was a stupid choice.
My first choice for transportation to and from campus was the bus – this didn’t last long, as I quickly realized that you would consistently be 20 minutes early or 20 minutes late to class.
Next I chose a conventional bicycle, thinking it would give me the freedom to choose when I left my apartment, and provide a more reliable commute time. This also didn’t work for long, since I would walk into every one of my classes tired and sweating from the commute there. Pedaling a bicycle from an off-campus apartment got old quickly, so I purchased and installed a cheap gas-powered bike kit to help me out. This turned out to be another poor decision, as the gas engine was loud, heavy, and left me smelling like gasoline even after the shortest trips. One morning while descending the NEB stairs, the bikes muffler tapped the ground and broke off – leaving the bike to sound like continuous gunshots whenever you would crank the engine up. That was the straw that broke the camel's back, as I never rode that horrible bicycle again.
I then bought into the scooter craze, and hated the whole experience! Paying for the scooter, gasoline, oil + maintenance, state registration, and parking decals adds up quick. Adding insult to injury, by the time I sold the scooter 6 months later, the entire scooter had started falling apart. The gas gauge had failed, the speedometer cluster had completely turned yellow, and you had to crank the engine for 5 minutes before it would sputter back to life. I was tired of having the lowest quality vehicles, since they never lasted much longer than a few months.
I then bought a motorcycle, and experienced many of the same issues as with the scooter, minus the long term quality problems. As time went on, and UF scooter / motorcycle parking became more and more packed, I realized that having a motorcycle was no longer an acceptable option as it was becoming impossible to find a spot large enough to park.
Starting the Spring of my freshman year, I began designing an electric bicycle for fun. I grafted and adapted many of the components from my electric car project, as many of the pieces I needed didn’t exist for a high power electric bike like the one I was building. I built the first bike in the apartment living room over the course of 4 months, and at the end of it all I had an exceptional bike that I would end up riding for over 3000 miles. After completion, I quickly realized how much better the bicycle was over my motorcycle in nearly every aspect, and ended up selling it within a week of completing the bike project.
A Partnership Between UF Engineering and UF Advertising Began
I was introduced to Benny a few years ago after hearing that he had been commuting using an electric bike. After meeting with him and explaining what REVA was, he immediately gave his full support and enthusiasm for the company. Many engineers become so obsessed with their product, that they neglect the other necessary aspects of selling a business, and I am no different. Benny was instrumental in laying out a realistic marketing strategy that would enable to the company to grow from a kid building bikes in an apartment, to a company selling the greatest electric bikes all around the world.
Initially, I used all the money I had saved up from past jobs and internships to get REVA moving. Unfortunately, running on a shoestring budget can only last for so long – so in 2018 I founded another company named Stupid Simple Tools. SST designs and manufactures high quality, well-engineered tools that are sold on various outlets online. While SST has taught me so much about running a business, nearly all of its profit goes directly towards funding my true passion and goal of launching REVA.
What makes REVA different?
This is a question that I have been asking myself ever since I started building these bikes back in 2014. While there are many different answers I have considered, I think the one that has stuck around the longest is that REVA cares about its product. There are thousands of electric manufacturers, but nearly ALL of them purchase the bicycles from overseas and resell them domestically after slapping their logo on. Every bicycle that REVA builds will be built from the ground up to be an electric bike, providing us the opportunity to create the perfect platform for our electric technology. All of the bikes electronics will be designed and manufactured in house, leading to a technological ecosystem which will enable a variety of features that haven’t been seen on ebikes before. We hope that consumers will grow an appreciation for the quality we put into our electric bicycles, and look to us when they decide to purchase one for themselves.
-Juan, REVA Creator