Streetdog, a Kiwi-built electric moped will be silently taking to the streets of Tauranga next coming week providing an opportunity for a test ride.
The Streetdog is a creation of Wellington-based FTN Motion, which wanted to create something electric but accessible. That meant it couldn’t be a full motorcycle, but also not an electric bicycle.
The business was founded by Luke Sinclair and Kendall Bristow, friends and engineers by origin, who wanted a design that didn’t look futuristic but harked back to a classic motorcycle era.
"No one had made something with a bit of style that looks like a motorcycle, so we wanted to bring that element of motorcycles of the past," says Luke.
The moped, being electric is best suited for the 50km per hour urban city mobility.
"With that battery technology, it’s perfect for low speed around town – your daily commute and back home."
Luke and Kendall grew up in Pukekohe, attending intermediate and high school together, before both going on to study engineering in Hamilton.
"After uni we went off for a summer and walked the Te Araroa Trail."
The four-month journey sparked the original idea for the electric motorbike.
"We were motived to do something a bit more meaningful and different with our lives. About six years ago, Kendall started looking at moped conversions and we put together a prototype in Pukekohe, glad-wrapped some batteries to a frame and away we went."
The pair determined that in terms of functionality and performance, electric was going to be what commuters would want, so came up with something with a bit of style.
Streetdog has an old-school classic look, with a storage area of 30 litres instead of a combustion engine, wire-spoke wheels, motorcycle-spec brakes, a cafe-racer-style seat, and a single round headlight.
"We saw the opportunity and it is so much fun, you jump on it, there’s no noise, no fumes, no emissions, minimal maintenance, no oil change. And it seems quite clear it’s the way things are going to go."
They plan to visit Tauranga on Tuesday April 5 with three Streetdogs for people to take for test drives.
All that’s required is a car licence. There’s already a waiting list, with motorhome and bach owners keen on having one to cruise around.
"You can charge it in any wall socket. It has 100km range. Enough for commuting in a day, treat it like your phone and charge it overnight. You can leave the battery in your bike and charge it, or else take it out from under the seat and charge it in your house."
With the first production run pre-ordered and paid, they now have a large growing waiting list for the second production, and have completed two test ride weekends, in Wellington and Christchurch.
"It’s been incredible. It’s been so cool to see people really enjoying it."
They are looking at developing different models and markets, with the goal to enter the Europe and Australia market as well as New Zealand.