On December 29, 2022, Royal Enfield parent company, Eicher Motors Limited, announced a strategic investment in Spain-based electric motorcycle manufacturer Stark Future SL. If that name sounds familiar, it’s likely that you’re thinking of Stark’s first foray into electric motorcycles, the Stark Varg electric motocross bike.
The Stark Varg first came into the public eye in December, 2021. When registration to own one opened in January, 2022, it sold 1,000 units in the first day of pre-orders, even though the official timeline for bike shipments didn’t have them actually going to their new homes until March, 2023.
Eicher Motors and Stark Future have been working behind the scenes for a few months, prior to Eicher issuing a press release to formally announce its investment. What will that investment be? A cool € 50 million, which is equivalent to approximately $53,324,000 at the time of writing. This, in turn, translates to an approximate Stark Future SL equity stake of 10.35 percent. It also gets Eicher a seat on Stark Future’s board of directors.
“We are very excited to closely collaborate with Stark Future who are as focused as we are on challenging norms, pushing the boundaries and building uniquely differentiated offerings for riders,” Royal Enfield CEO B. Govindarajan said in a statement.
“In addition to the sheer potential of Stark Future, we see immense synergies in this partnership. While they are scaling up and planning their market entry soon, we will support Stark in the industrialization process. While they are thought leaders in EV technology, particularly in light-weight components and innovative solutions, we at Royal Enfield will draw on these capabilities for developing our EV platforms and will also plan to share some EV platforms in the future,” he added.
“We love the vision, passion and focus of the amazing team at Stark Future. Leisure motorcycles do not easily lend themselves to EV technology at this stage, due to challenges like the battery range, packaging, weight and cost. This has resulted in stunted growth of this segment till now,” Eicher Motors Ltd. Managing Director Siddhartha Lal said, in the same statement.
“Stark Future has been able to understand and harness the potential of EV technology by dramatically outperforming ICE offerings, without compromising on range, weight, packaging and cost. They have created an absolutely astounding motocross motorcycle - the Stark VARG - as their entry into the EV world. We believe that Stark Future has the highest potential for real breakout growth in the EV leisure space with this model, and the potential to use this strong base to extend into other contiguous segments and beyond,” he went on.
“We aimed to challenge and inspire the motorcycle industry with the creation of the Stark VARG and by bringing our electric technology from the drawing board to reality,” Stark Future founder and CEO Anton Wass said.
“To now partner with one of the very first motorcycle brands in history, and be part of their journey towards sustainability is a huge inspiration for us at Stark. We have now worked closely with Sid, Govind and team for a few months, and have been deeply impressed by what they have created in the past 25 years, as well as the mindset and focus to continue to build and develop Royal Enfield into the future of sustainable motorcycling,” Wass went on.
“With the Stark VARG we believe we have a launch model that will reset benchmarks, so to know that the bike’s technical basis will spread much further and filter into more machinery and products is another source of pride for us. It has been a short, intense and incredible journey for us so far but our link with Royal Enfield and what lies in store in the coming years are brilliant signs for the future,” he concluded.
The electric motorcycle development race is becoming more interesting by the day, and we look forward to seeing what kinds of machines this partnership yields in the future.
Sources: Eicher Motors, Economic Times, Reuters