It surprising to us that there is so little investment in technologies and business in the two-wheeled space by the established players.
Maybe it is the conservative nature of the motorcycle industry, or maybe it is because motorcycle companies are just miserably bad at corporate development. Whatever the reason may be, it makes today’s headline an intriguing one.
This is because Yamaha Motor Corp. in Japan has just set aside $100 million to invest in technologies and business startups, over the next 10 years.
One of the more interesting developments announced at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy was the debut of the Arc Vector electric superbike, which is being back by InMotion Ventures, the investment arm of Jaguar Land Rover. Yes, as in the car manufacturer.
The link to Jaguar Land Rover was an easy one, as Arc founder Mark Truman was formerly part of the company’s skunk works team, called White Space. Other funding partners include Mercia Fund Managers, the Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund which is part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, and a number of industry specialist angels.
Arc has been teasing the Vector for the past several weeks, with plenty of buzzwords to go along with its electric motorcycle offering. The company plans a multi-pronged approach to get into the motorcycle industry, which includes creating a line of smart apparel (co-developed with Knox) that includes a helmet with a heads-up display (HUD).
It is with great regret that we inform you today that Motus Motorcycles is ceasing business operations, as the American motorcycle startup has reached the end of its financial backing from investors.
The news was sent to Motus owners via email on Friday, August 31st, and confirmed to us later that day by Motus co-founder and designer Brian Case via text message. We imagine that a more formal announcement will be coming forth after the Labor Day holiday weekend, so at the moment, details are light.
What we do know is that the news comes as a surprise, as Motus has been busy with dealer events around the country. Also, the startup was getting ready to launch its second model as well, later this year, which was a streetfighter based off the Motus MST sport-touring bike.
Alta Motors is announcing that it has closed two fundraising rounds, for a total of $27 million capital raised in exchanged for preferred stock in the San Francisco based electric motorcycle company.
The B & C series fundraising rounds were led by Grassy Creek Ventures, with the Series C round joined by Latin American venture capital fund Mountain Nazca, along with motorcycle legend Bob Fox – of Fox Racing fame.
Alta Motors says that the use of funds goes to the expanding the company’s existing manufacturing and R&D facility in Brisbane, CA; refining the company’s vehicle technology; and developing more lightweight vehicles.
From the funding, Alta Motors sees two more board members added to the company’s board of directors: Travis Bradford, Professor of Practice and Director of the Energy and Environment graduate program at Columbia University, and Hector Sepulveda, Managing Partner at Mountain Nazca.
Norton Motorcycles recently got £4 million in grant funding from the UK government, funds that will go towards creating a new manufacturing facility, more jobs, and new models. All-in-all, it’s good news for the British marque and its suppliers, who will also benefit from the grant.
The good news for us though is that Norton plans to bring to market a 200hp V4-powered sport bike, not too dissimilar to the “SG” models that have been raced at the Isle of Man TT.
Adding to the good news is that British site Bike Social has gotten their hands on the sketches, and had a chance to talk to Norton’s Head of Design, Simon Skinner, about the new model and Norton’s future.
It’s been a while since we heard from Zero Motorcycles, but the Scotts Valley company continues to build and refine its electric motorcycle offering.
Helping to ensure that the electric motorcycle company continues to build upon its successes, the California Energy Commission (CEC) has issued a grant to Zero Motorcycles, to the tune of $1,009,220.
Zero’s investors will be matching that sum, and invest the combined $2 million in continued research, development, and assembly at the company’s California headquarters in Scotts Valley.
With the news that Erik Buell Racing has ceased operations and will be headed into receivership, doubt has been cast on the company’s racing efforts in the World Superbike Championship. Allaying some fears, Team Manager and Rider Larry Pegram spoke to the WorldSBK.com website, saying that the team would indeed race in Assen, as planned.
“For Team Hero EBR, nothing has really changed,” Pegram said while speaking to WorldSBK.com. “We are going to be racing this weekend and we plan to continue for the season. All indications are that we are going to be able to do that. There is obviously some restructuring and financial stuff going on in the USA, but we are over here in Assen and getting ready for a good weekend.”
One of the greatest mysteries surrounding the Circuit of Wales is exactly where the funding for the project is due to come from.
The ambitious project to build a circuit in the Blaenau Gwent region of South Wales will need some £325 million to complete it entirely, with around £200 million to come from private investors, the rest to come from public funds.
Though the Circuit of Wales has had plenty of headlines, there has been little word of any private investors putting any actual money into the project. That seems set to change.
Michael Carrick, Chief Executive of the Heads of the Valleys Development Company, the company behind the Circuit of Wales project, told the BBC that they have already raised £120 million in private investment, leaving £80 million still to find for development to go ahead.
Electric motorcycle startup Energica has found some big guns to help find it funding: UBS .
According to the company’s press release, UBS will be Energica’s sole financial advisor during the electric motorcycle company’s search for Italian or international funding.
Any funding that UBS finds will go towards bring the Energica Ego and Energica Eva models to market, particularly in the United States.
Eight months ago, we told you about a special project that Alta Motors (formerly named BRD Motorcycles) was working on with Logos Technologies.
The project was a hybrid-electric two-wheel drive motorcycle that US special forces would use. Now called the SilentHawk, Logos Technologies has received a second DARPA award to continue development of this unique motorcycle with Alta Motors.
The Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from DARPA means that Logos and Alta motors can begin actually building the silent, yet easily refuelable, motorcycle to the weapons cache of the US military, which they proved in concept during Phase I.
It has been a long time coming, but we have some good news from the folks at BRD Motorcycles, as the electric motorcycle startup has just closed a $4.5 million Series A funding round.
The investment round was led by Spanish investment firm Modara Technologies, which was joined by Cedarville Investments, Tesla Motors founders Martin Eberhard & Marc Tarpenning, and Pedro Zapata Gil, the CEO of Baluarte Real Estate in Spain.
To-date that makes $8.2 million in capital raised by BRD, and now the San Francisco startup will be able to go ahead with production on its BRD RedShift electric dirt bike and supermoto offerings. BRD will show the production-ready RedShift MX & RedShift SM at the AIMExpo in two weeks’ time, which will retail for $14,995 and $15,495, respectively.