Despite the rise in e-transportation products, e-motorcycles are failing to meet the standards of scooters and even smart cars. However, knowing this, Tarform, a new Brooklyn-based standup just revealed their new electronic motorcycle.
The group revealed two prototype models at NewLab in Brooklyn, as reported by Techcrunch. One is the Café and the other is Scrambler.
Now that the motorcycles have been revealed, the group is testing their inventions privately. Then, there is a planned manufacture period of late 2019. That said, Tarform has opened up pre-orders for their new devices.
This choice is interesting, as market scalability and profit will be difficult to come by for the new startup. The machines are higher-end electronic gadgets and will come with a price tag to match. Starting price for these motorcycles is $18,000. In comparison, Zero’s FX model starts at $8,000, while Energica’s Eva EsseEsse9 comes in at $24,000.
Regardless of the competition, Tarform is looking to “set a new standard for two-wheeled transport by developing fully electric, zero-emission premium motorcycles, using sustainable materials and smart connectivity.” Essentially, the group is saying that they created custom redesigns for the most efficient model possible.
Tarform founder and CEO, Taras Kravtchouk, revealed their process in a statement to TechCrunch:
“In order to distill the form to only the essentials, we were challenged to redesign every component. We’re talking to a company in Sweden to do a custom vehicle control unit to integrate Bluetooth connectivity [and ultrasonic proximity sensors.] You’ll be able to sync your ride to an app…and get inputs on your riding behavior…to become a better rider.”
Kravtchouk is a long-time motorcyclist, industrial designer, and has experience leading prior startups. He ensured that the team custom manufactured parts such as the pegs, swingarm, and handlebars to create a unique experience. Also, parts have unique sounds due to a built-in transducer. However, it’s important to note that more essential aspects such as suspension, the battery, and power regulation were outsourced.
Variety Is The Spice Of The Road
One model will weigh 350 pounds, contain a 9kWh battery, run at 53 horsepower, and hit top speeds of 95 miles an hour with a 129-mile range. There will also be an upgraded 395-pound version with a bigger, 13.5 kWh battery, up to 80 horsepower, and 168 miles of range.
Tarform e-Motorcycle, Image from Techcrunch
Charging these batteries to 80 percent will take three-and-a-half hours. A standard outlet will charge the entire thing in eight hours. There will also be a fast-charging option for bikes to hit 80 percent in less than an hour.
These models have Tarform looking to bring in buyers by balancing performance and design, says Kravtchouk:
“The question is how much we compromise the design [for a bigger battery], without making the bikes look fat and ugly. We’re trying to find a compromise.”
He continues, saying that some users may want a cool bike that doesn’t ride as long over a bike with a big, visually unappealing battery.
Creating A Niche
TechCrunch has reported that U.S. motorcycle sales have dropped nearly 50 percent since 2008. That, and the largest decline has come from demographics under 40 years old. That’s why it’s so interesting that Tarform is after an ever-shrinking group of American people. That, and those buying motorcycles aren’t really buying them new. Instead, consumers are opting for older models because they’re cheaper.
However, Tarform believes that their sleeker, tech-focused approach will bring in new and younger customers. The group isn’t trying to compete with established manufacturers like Harley-Davidson, rather create a new niche in the market.
Kravtchouk backs this up in a statement:
“We’re not in the arms race. We’re not saying we’re faster than anyone else…We think our positioning is a little bit different. Since we started showing the design…so many people who are not motorcycle riders have come forward and said, ‘I want to ride that thing,” so maybe our demographic is not existing motorcycle riders, but people who wished they were motorcycle riders. That’s what industry, gas or EV, has had such a hard time capturing.”