Electric Vehicles are coming to take over every type of transport and while Elon Musk won’t touch Electric Motorbikes, that isn’t stopping others from venturing there.
FAB9 is a new public makerspace in Footscray that’s playing host to the development of a Australia’s first electric motorcycle. This continues the discussion about which of Australia’s big cities is the best location to build your startup.
FAB9 is the brainchild of Hans Chang, a former Silicon Valley product manager, who after a career with the flash-memory company SanDisk, opened FAB9 this year with the world-renowned makerspace pioneer, Dr Evan Malone.
Chang’s experiment has also attracted significant support from the Victorian Government’s start-up agency, LaunchVic, which – buoyed by Malone’s backing – has funded FAB9 to the tune of $1 million.
“FAB9 is an important piece of infrastructure in our start-up ecosystem, as it provides a particular manufacturing focus for start-ups wanting access to low-cost facilities to prototype, build and test products.”Kate Cornick, the CEO of LaunchVic.
The funds have enabled Chang to create “Australia’s best-equipped public makerspace”, with a range of machines usually available only to multinational corporations and research labs – including the laser-guided Markforged X7 3D printer, and the Multicam Trident 3000 CNC router – one of the most precise and versatile flatbed cutting machines in the world.
The 900-square-metre workspace also has an extensive range of hand tools, power tools, electronic prototyping equipment, and manufacturing machines, including vertical bench-saws, thicknessers, laser-cutters, industrial sewing machines, and more.
Dennis Savic is the 27-year-old behind the Savic C-Series EV motorbike. He believes the makerspace was a “perfect spot” for him when he was considering venues to test, tune and assemble the country’s first high-performance electric motorcycle.
Orders for the C-Series EV bike are now open and start at A$12,990 for a bike that achieves 0-100km/hr in 5.5 seconds from a 7kWh battery. At the top end, you can drop that to just 3.5 seconds for an 11kWh battery that gives you 200km of range for A$23,990.
Savic works as an optimisation engineer at Ford Australia by day and is ambitiously running a hardware startup by night.
“As we’re pre-seed, it doesn’t pay for us to lease an entire factory yet, when we’re basically working nights and weekends. At FAB9, we have a semi-permanent space in the metal workshop with our own bench and bike stand, and plenty of space.
Savic launched the advanced prototype of his café racer at the 2019 Australian Motorcycle Festival in Wollongong on November 9th, and was ensconced at FAB9 within a week of returning to Melbourne. He says interest has been most intense in his top-of-the-range Alpha model – a 60kW machine “capable of 0-100 kmph in 3.5 seconds”.Dennis Savic
The team is aiming to produce its first ‘founder edition’ bikes by August 2020, followed by its three ‘customer bikes’ – the Alpha, the 40kW Delta, and the 25kW Omega. The company has already received 99 expressions of interest for its first 49 vehicles, with formal orders opened in early December.
Savic’s team is using FAB9’s workshops to test the electrical components, refine the motor tune, and finalise development of the bike’s powertrain. Savic says the company is in discussions with a number of venture capital firms, and is “quietly confident” of meeting its target for first commercial deliveries in January 2021.
“FAB9 is perfect for us because it gives us a spacious workshop, with great equipment, friendly staff, and complete security,” “Plus, of course, it’ll cost us less than half of what it would cost to rent a similar standalone factory space.”Dennis Savic