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Mobility startup Damon Motors enters e-moto arena with EV debut – TechCrunch

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Vancouver based mobility startup Damon Motorcycles has entered the EV arena with a preview of its first e-moto, the Hypersport Pro.

The seed-stage company had previously focused on creating digital safety technology — like its 360 degree radar detection system — to augment two-wheelers made by other manufacturers.

Damon has determined to create its own EV model designed to overcome common flaws it sees in existing motorcycle offerings.

“We are for the first time being black and white about the fact that we are a full on producer and we have a motorcycle we’re going to unveil at CES,” Damon Motorcycle founder and CEO Jay Giraud told TechCrunch.

That machine is the fully electric Damon Hypersport Pro. The news is a pre-announcement ahead of the full January debut, so Giraud would not offer much in the way of core specs — such as price, range, charge-time, and performance.

He was clear the motorcycle is meant to be a direct competitor to the latest e-motos released by Harley Davidson and California based venture Zero Motorcycles — and to the gas-motorcycle market overall.

“We’ve come at this and the motorcycle problem in a way that no other company has,” Giraud explained.

“We’re trying to change the industry by addressing the issues of safety and handling and comfort and the problems that have persisted with everyone in the industry, including all the e-moto companies today.”

Damon’s Hypersport Pro is designed around the company’s CoPilot system, which uses sensors radar and cameras to detect and track moving objects around the motorcycle, including blindspots, and alert riders to danger.

Damon has also taken on the problem of one-size fits all in motorcycle design, integrating a system on its Hypersport Pro that allows for adjustable ergonomics. The startup’s debut model will allow riders to electronically shift the motorcycle’s windscreen, seat, footpegs, and handlebars to accommodate for different positions and conditions — from more upright city riding to more aggressive high-speed runs.

Damon Motorcycles is taking pre-orders for its Hypersport Pro and will skip dealers, opting to use a direct-sales and service model similar to Tesla . The startup’s Vancouver facility is equipped to build 500 motorcycles a year, according to Giraud.

The company recently brought on Derek Dorresteyn, the former CTO of e-moto startup Alta, as its COO. Full specs of the Hypersport Pro will come next month at CES, but Giraud did offer a glimpse, saying it would be more competitive and more powerful than existing e-moto offerings.

Harley Davidson released its first e-motorcycle — the $29K LiveWire — in 2019 and California EV startup Zero Motorcycles launched its $19K SR/F, both in bids to go take e-motos mass-market. Aside from the price-gap, both have comparable charge-times (about an hour), performance, and range (around 100 miles for combined city and highway riding).

The U.S. motorcycle industry has been in pretty bad shape since the recession. New sales dropped by roughly 50% since 2008 — with sharp declines in ownership by everyone under 40 — and have never recovered.

Harley Davidon’s EV pivot is likely to bring e-moto offerings from the other large gas manufacturers, such as Honda and Yamaha, who are also attempting to revive sales to younger riders.

LiveWire Charging Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson’s LiveWire

With Damon’s pivot to e-moto production, the startup is not alone. Italy’s Energica is expanding distribution of its high-performance EVs in the U.S. Other competitors include e-moto startup Fuell, with plans to release its $10K, 150-mile range Flow in the near future.

Of course, there’s already been some speed-bumps and market attrition, with three e-moto startups — Alta Motors, Mission Motors and Brammo — forced to power down over the last several years.

So how does Damon Motors plan to succeed as a new entrant in a motorcycle market with stagnant  new bikes sales and increased EV competition from established OEMs and startups?

“We have so many advantages the others don’t have and we’re leveraging everyone of their weaknesses,” founder Jay Giraud said. The company’s direct-sale model will lend to more competitive pricing and higher margins for R&D, he said.

Then there are what Damon Motorcycles sees as its Hypersport Pro’s purposely designed comparative advantages over existing manufacturers.

“You’re gonna love the horsepower and range and all that good stuff, but that’s not what makes Damon different from every one else,” explained Giraud.

“What’s different is that it’s a safer motorbike with the safety features and transforming ergonomics that will keep you from smashing into someone’s car,” he said.

Not crashing into other people’s cars is certainly a compelling feature to offer in a motorcycle. Time and sales will ultimately tell how Damon fares in the inevitable cycle of events — profitability, failure, acquisition — that will play out in the increasingly competitive e-moto space.



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Kia EV6 GT Packs 576 Electric Horses And A Drift Mode

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You might not associate Kia with performance vehicles, but with 576 horsepower on tap, the new EV6 GT unveiled during Monterey Car Week aims to change that.

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This Electronic ‘Skin’ Lacking A Chip Could Be The Future Of Wearables

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But here’s the exciting part: The electronic skin can also be easily customized with a different kind of ion-sensing membrane that is sensitive to other chemicals like glucose and cortisol in the sweat. “We showed sodium sensing, but if you change the sensing membrane, you could detect any target biomarker,” adds co-author of the paper, Jun Min Suh. 

In 2018, a team from Stanford University also came up with a wearable device that can measure cortisol levels in sweat and analyze stress levels. Additionally, 2021 wearable-centric research from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in France revealed that cortisol can be used as a biomarker for treating conditions like burnout and obesity.

Another critical benefit is that the electronic skin is flexible, which means the comfort aspect has already been taken care of. That’s a huge relief, as sleeping while wearing a smartwatch so that it collects detailed information about heart rate patterns is not the most comfortable experience. Plus, sleep tracking coupled with continuous heart rate monitoring is also quite taxing on the battery life of a smartwatch. 

An electronic skin that can transmit data related to heart rate and changes in the chemistry of sweat without a chip or transmission gear is a truly remarkable step. Work in the domain has been making tremendous process. From the potential for tattoos that monitor health to artificial skin that can heal its own bruises, the possibilities are almost endless. 

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TikTok Is Furious About This Dodge Charger EV Feature

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While the TikTokers present at the event seemed blown away by the new Daytona SRT, their comments sections were not as kind. The vehicle’s exhaust feature was panned by a number of users in the replies, with one of the commenters on Fitrich76’s video simply replying: “We reving [sic] speakers now.” Another TikToker, Justin Hillard, is amongst the crowd predicting the move to electric will backfire on Dodge. He said: “Funny part is they will see the sales go down very quickly. Because no one wants electric. Especially because if everyone has to go electric then.” Caleb Schueng added, “You [sic] can I download the challengers exhaust sound? I wanna put it in my civic.”

Comments on ModdedDetroit’s TikTok followed a similar theme, with one user stating: “Such a sad era we’re going into.” Another user simply said, “we truly are going into dark times,” and one user criticized the vehicle’s figurative lack of soul. A notable portion of the comments section claimed Dodge was going to go out of business, though one user did say the car was better than Ford’s Mach-E.

These are just examples from a couple of accounts, but they do seem to reflect the broader reaction across social media. Influencers attending the events seemed quite complimentary about the new EV, while the majority of their followers tore the concept apart. In several cases, the electric engine sound was likened to the noise Simba from “The Lion King” made when he was trying to roar. You could easily argue that comment sections are the last places you want to look while gauging public opinion, but there’s also a case for saying these are the exact people Dodge was hoping to win over with the Daytona SRT.

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