If you are a motorcycle enthusiast, you know there is nothing better than the wind in your hair and the open road. Now, you can enjoy all a road trip can offer without the carbon footprint. Powered by electric motors and long-lasting batteries, electric motorcycles deliver prime speed and premium performance, minus the emissions but with all style you could hope for. In Australia, we have Savic Motorcycles, a true Melbourne based start-up, built on passion, a love of design and a desire for a better planet. The team, led by Dennis Savic, has had this dream since an early age and has put everything he has into it. This year he went for it, quit his job to focus full time on his dream and did so during a pandemic. Learn more about this unique industry, the Savic journey and more.
Why did you want to start Savic?
Building my own vehicle company is something I’ve wanted to do since I was 14 years of age. I became an engineer to gain the technical skills and got my MBA so that I would understand to some degree the business side of it. And now we’re doing it.
Where did your passion/love of motorcycles come from?
I think my passion for motorcycles stems from a fundamental appreciation of engineering.
I’ve always liked electric powertrains, and appreciated the simplicity of them.
The bikes are 100% Australian designed and built – what about components? Is it a true Aussie product?
Although the majority of our manufacturing is done overseas, all our design, modelling, assembly and testing is done in Melbourne. I might point out that, these days, the majority of manufacturing for most Australian engineering and technology businesses is done overseas!
How many prototypes did you build before you knew you had a minimum viable product?
It depends on your definition of an MVP: a product that is ready to be sold, or one that you can take to the market to understand if you’re on the right track? The former we are building now. The latter we built in 2018 and received some incredible market validation for.
Why 3 options?
We are launching three initial models – the Alpha, Delta and Omega – to give our customers a choice according to their needs and aspirations. The main differences between the three options are the battery pack size, motor internals, and suspension tune (as they have varying weights). We are standardising most of the remaining parts to optimise our order volumes with suppliers, which will in turn reduce our component costs.
How do you ensure your customers enjoy their Savic experience?
We do our best, ask for feedback often, and implement it quickly. We also offer a unique ‘window’ to each customer to monitor the build of their bike through a bespoke UX platform.
Where did the unique design/look of the bikes come from?
Dave Hendroff, our lead vehicle designer, is the artist behind our creation.
Who is buying them? Demographic, location etc.
We are selling only in Australia to start with. The primary order demographic at this stage are men in the 30 – 65 age bracket.
How long does it take to manufacture 1 unit?
Our first production run is planned for next year (2021). We will be able to produce roughly 1 unit per week. Our second production run (planned for 2022) will be 200 – 500 units over 12 months.
How are/were you funding the company?
We recently completed a seed raise. Up until then we were funded by myself, friends and family.
What has been the hardest part of starting your business?
Knowing what I don’t know. There are so many things that I don’t know, and no mentor can really hold your hand through. Sometimes you just have to figure things out on your own. Each of these unknowns results in stress, and when a few unknowns coincide with each other, one can experience pretty high-stress levels, which can be traumatic! But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, as they say.
Did you ever think about quitting?
I think about what quitting would feel like, then think: no way! Then I put my head down and keep working.
What is your biggest lesson learned so far?
There are too many to list, to be honest.
Recently you left your full time role to focus solely on Savic, how hard was that decision, why now?
The decision was simple, and like any job change had inherent stresses associated with it. The timing with COVID etc has made things a little more nerve-wracking – but I always said, once I can pay myself a wage, I’m going full time. We got funded, and the next day my resignation went in. I was lucky enough to have an incredible relationship with my superiors at Ford, who I kept informed through the whole process and made sure my handover was smooth.
How has Covid-19 affected your business?
It hasn’t too much yet. We will see what it does when it comes to importing the parts that we are getting manufactured overseas.
You have a merchandise line, what was the rationale behind starting that?
Our merchandise line is being created by one of the guys on the team, Michael D’Amico. He’s incredibly passionate about it, and an all-round genuinely great person.
Building a line of clothing is all about building a brand image and brand presence. It will also allow us to start building an international presence before we can start delivering bikes overseas.
What is next for Savic Motorcycles?
Build our production prototype, and obtain compliance plate approval for its use on Australian roads.
What is next for Dennis Savic?
Become the best leader I possibly can be.
One word that describes you best?
What are your 3 greatest accomplishments?
- Putting together an amazing team of passionate people who are working together to build an incredible line of products
- Completing an MBA while working full time and building the business
- Working for the Ford Motor Company before going full time at Savic MC.
- Company Age: 5 years
- Number of employees: 5
- Industry: Automotive
- Public/Private: Private
- Website: https://savicmotorcycles.com/