Shorai NZ began following an enquiry on a motorcycle forum about this new type of battery technology being released in the US.
I was running my company, Fire and Light NZ Ltd. offering a range of products and brands from NZ and overseas sources. (Please visit my website, www.fireandlight.co.nz a basic business card online).
I contacted Shorai Inc. USA and enquired about getting a couple of samples in for appraisal. Despite being a tiny country way down here at the bottom of the world, and despite their being flat out, they agreed to send me two batteries. I received them early January 2011.
Another member of the forum paid in to get his own battery, and we tested them out. They were outstanding for power, size and weight. We had never seen anything like it before. They were tiny! As far as I am aware, these two original batteries are still going 7+ years later. Nowadays, Lithium Ion batteries are common and well appreciated for their features as well as their long life.
By investing heavily in stock and marketing, we were able to gradually bring awareness of the brand to the market. We targeted the racing scene where the batteries were especially valuable where size and weight were critical to a bike’s performance. A couple of years ago, it was said that a 1kg saving in weight on a 1000cc Superbike was equivalent to a gain of 1hp in engine performance. So, to save 4 – 5kg in one stroke was huge! Not only in power, but the reduced weight helped with mass-centralisation, aiding handling, too.
Off-road bikes also benefit greatly not only from the weight saving, but also due to the issue of starting a trail-bike after falling off or stalling it out in the bush. Lead acid batteries have a limited amount of power and drain quickly if the engine is reluctant to start. Shorai batteries retain full power, even with repeated attempts to start the engine.
Over the intervening years, the brand has grown to become “the battery to have” in all forms of motorised racing in NZ. From bikes to quads, to jetskis, to speedway, to boats! Anything with an engine has become a home for a Shorai battery! We supply to Microlights, Ultralights and paragliders – another area where weight is critical. Super V8’s, muscle cars and other racing cars.
One customer running a NASCAR V8 powered muscle car has just replaced his rather battered Shorai 36A3 after 4 years! He has retired the old one as a spare as it is still working! I ran a 21A6 in our ’94 Mazda MX5 for 18mths before being silly and selling the car. (I deeply regret that!) The battery I took out weight 12kg, the Shorai 1.4kg!
As brand awareness grows, we are increasing our market share in the road and off-road scene due to the long-term value of LiFePO4 technology. Big bikes requiring a grunty starting battery do well with Shorai and I have customers with highly modified big block Harley’s who have had a Shorai battery fitted for up to 4 years or more.
I guess you get the idea we are excited about the technology and it’s potential for huge growth in the market place. We are!