Australia has a challenging past with automotive manufacturing, with the giants leaving our shores 1 by 1 over the past decade. Thankfully there’s new life and new opportunity in local vehicle production, coming in the form of electric vehicles.
The first high-performance, zero-emissions electric motorcycle to be designed and manufactured in Australia will hit the road in late 2022.
The target was announced this week by Melbourne-based Savic Motorcycles, following completion of a $1.83 million capital raise which included contributions from the Victorian Government and co-investment of $657,000 from the Federal Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC).
The successful raise fulfils a decade-long dream for founder Dennis Savic, a former Ford optimisation engineer, who designed his powerful C-Series café racer with Perth-based designer Dave Hendroff. The pair have since been joined by over 30 automotive engineers and software developers – some full-time, some consultants – and built a loyal following among Australia’s motorcycling cognoscenti.
The West Melbourne firm has already received 90 orders for the three-model C-Series, which ranges from the torquey 25-kilowatt Omega (comparable to a 300cc traditional motorbike), to the 40kW Delta, and the 60kw Alpha (roughly equivalent to a 1,000cc bike). The Alpha has 200Nm of torque, powering it to 100kph from a standing start in 3.5 seconds.
The C-Series’ 16kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged to 80% in under four hours and will deliver a city range of between 150km (for the Omega) and 250km (for the Alpha). The retail price is extremely competitive compared to other full-size e-motos, with the Omega retailing at $12,990, the Delta at $16,990, and the Alpha at $23,990 – less than half the price of its competitor, the Harley Davidson LiveWire.
Savic’s operations represent an exciting return to automotive manufacturing in Victoria, after the closure of Ford’s Geelong and Broadmeadows plants in 2016 and Toyota’s manufacturing facility in Altona in 2017.
“Now that our first production run is funded, we’re aiming to have at least 20 bikes delivered to their owners in the last quarter of 2022, before rapidly scaling up manufacturing in 2023,” said Mr Savic. “Our initial customers have proved to be incredibly loyal and have shown great faith in us and our bike during the delays we’ve experienced during the lockdowns of the past 18 months.”
Founder, Dennis Savic
Savic’s customers are an eclectic mix of young and old, male and female, with CEOs and CFOs alongside tradies and farmers. “We even have a couple of lifelong Harley riders in there, which gives us great delight,” Mr Savic said.
“The scaleup of this exciting company is very important for all Australians. The switch to sustainable forms of transport is happening rapidly, and Savic has the prototype for a revolutionary and elegant market offering that is attractive to traditional motorcycle enthusiasts and newcomers alike.”
Investor Michelle Melbourne, who represents a group of motorcycle-riding private investors
“Savic Motorcycles are paving the way for electric mobility in Australia by leveraging the best of breed designers, engineers and manufacturing partners to deliver motorbikes of unmatched performance for local and global customers.
Savic are proof that when you embrace the entire manufacturing process from design to research and development, all the way through to sales, there are exciting times ahead for Australian manufacturing.”
Dr Jens Goennemann, Managing Director of the AMGC
Savic has run two small capital raises to develop its prototype over the past four years, but its current raise is a game-changing proposition that will fast-track progress towards a second 200-unit production run in 2023. The funds drive was supported by grants from the AMGC and the Victorian Clean Tech Fund, as well as an R&D loan from the Victorian Government’s Invest Victoria.
The C-Series boasts a number of world-class, racing-quality components, including a Wilbers suspension, Brembo brakes, and a customised Optibelt carbon-fibre drive belt. The Savic team is currently developing a sophisticated AI system and riders’ app, and will soon embark on the design of a special anti-lock braking system with Bosch Australia. All Savic bikes will also have removable cowls to allow for pillion passengers.
“We’re delighted to support Savic Motorcycles as they look to decarbonise the light vehicle industry. We believe that electric vehicles are the future of automotive transport, and we’ve been impressed with the Savic team’s ability to design and build a high-performance electric road bike and commence D2C sales.”
Alexandra Clunies-Ross, Portfolio Manager at Artesian, a global venture capital firm which has supported Savic through its last two capital raises.
Earlier this year, the C-Series Alpha featured as the title object at the entrance to the ‘Spark’ climate-change exhibition at Sydney’s Australian Museum, and was celebrated as one of the world’s 101 most influential motorcycles at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art.