Green means go for e-bike startup
Updated: 2013-12-22 10:28
By Shi Xi (China Daily)
A passion for electric vehicles brings Luca Valente, Brandon Ng and Nathan Siy (from left to right) together. Photo provided to China Daily
It takes only five seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour for the electricity-powered motorcycle DELTA, but it took five years for Nathan Siy to come this far.
DELTA 13 and 15 are the products of ElectroForce Motors. The company founded by Siy and two other expats in 2013 focuses on producing state-of-the-art electric law enforcement vehicles.
The journey started back in 2008 when Siy finished his contract with an educational firm in Beijing and was ready to return to Canada. However, a cheap electric bike he bought changed his mind.
"The tours in Beijing made me think about the possibilities a clean, environmentally friendly two-wheeled mode of transport could bring about," Siy says.
Based on this idea, Siy started Beijing Electric Bike Tours, which takes visiting guests on a trip to Beijing's tourist attractions and which eventually led him to his friends and business partners - Luca Valente and Brandon Ng.
"Our passion for electric vehicles is what really brought all three of us together, but it was one of my projects, Beijing Electric Bike Tours, that helped solidify things," Siy says.
Valente came across Siy in 2012 when he rented an electric bike from Siy's company for a weekend. Valente soon found himself interested in the bike and kept asking Siy for more details about electric bikes.
"We kept in contact as friends and occasionally rode together, but it wasn't until EF Motors that we actually had an opportunity to evolve from friends to business partners," Siy says.
Valente was born and raised in Brazil, and arrived in China in 2004 to pursue a career with a large aerospace company in Harbin where he met his Chinese wife.
After he obtained an MBA at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing, he decided to settle down with his wife and begin a new career in the capital.
Using his background in mechanical engineering, Valente takes charge of structural issues, suspension and the cosmetics of EFM's products.
"He has always been interested in finding ways to make things better, sleeker and safer in any way possible," Siy says.
Compared to Siy and Valente, who have been in China for many years, Ng appears to be "fresh off the boat".
He arrived in Beijing in 2011 and went to Tsinghua University to improve his Mandarin. Ng has been keen on two-wheeled vehicles for a long time. After moving to Beijing, he found electric bikes to be an inspirational method of transportation and launched an online blog to write reviews on various electric vehicles.
It was Ng's Beijing Electric Bike Blog that led him to Siy and Valente and made their paths cross.
"With the Internet being so integrated these days, our paths eventually crossed and we began talking about how we may be able to take our electric vehicle passions to the next level, and EF Motors was born," Siy says.
While their electric bike company is a young startup and is currently in its initial stage, all three founders have an ambition to produce world-class electric bikes and consider it "a legitimate solution to the increasingly congested cities and energy-conscious public".
The company's first batch of electric bikes are now in the sales process for a law enforcement department in Southeast Asia.
"Electric vehicles, put simply, operate far more efficiently than conventional gasoline-powered cars and motorcycles," Siy says. "As such, they will benefit the environment if drivers and conventional motorcyclists start using them."