Starting an electric motorbike firm sounds simple, but in reality creating a new brand from scratch is a challenging task at best, and markedly harder when you’re attempting to source parts and engineers from the UK.
Has anyone managed to achieve this feat? Step-forward Maeving: the Coventry-based firm behind the retro-styled RM1 e-motorbike, which is made using more than 50 per cent of UK-made parts.
Co-founded by Sebastian Inglis-Jones, Maeving was formed from a team of ex-Triumph engineers who set about creating a machine that is packed full of tech and yet isn’t harnessed by the constraints of modern design.
Here, Inglis-Jones explains how far the brand has come since its launch in 2021, what his future plans are and why removable battery technology is here to stay.
Did you always want to become a UK-centred e-motorbike brand?
“From the outset we were only interested in producing quality, attractive electric motorbikes because all of the market was mainly Chinese imports.
“We love Triumph, they’re our favourite brand and we’ve been a huge fan of the styling of their bikes, particularly over the past 15 years. All the Bonneville's and the Rocket’s are so beautifully finished so we immediately decided to bring in engineers from them.
“All of the motorcycle brands in the UK since the late 1800s were based a stones throw from where we are situated now so it’s nice to have that heritage. And then from a sustainability angle, we always wanted to source as much as we could from the UK.
“65 per cent of our components are sourced from the UK, we design and assemble the bike in the UK asn that was always something we wanted to do. Ideally, if electric motors and batteries were made in the UK we would use those as well.”
What challenges have you encountered since launching two years ago and what has Maeving done to combat this?
“Despite the best efforts of the war in Ukraine and the supply chain issue, everything has gone well.
“We source our batteries from Greenway in China, they’re the biggest two wheeled battery supplier in the world.
"Shanghai went into a forced lockdown which meant our batteries were stranded in China and then once they made their way to the ports there were strikes, which was all a bit of a nightmare.
“Right now though we’re focusing on reviews, publicity and getting validation for the RM1 to learn what people like about it.”
What has the public reaction to Maeving been like and do you think people have a greater understanding of e-motorbikes since launch?