Kochie’s Business Builders and Qantas Business Rewards recently asked Aussie businesses to tell us how they could use 250,000 Qantas Points to help let their business fly. From hundreds of truly extraordinary entries, we narrowed it down to four competition winners. One of them is Savic Motorcycles.
Perth-based engineer Dennis Savic has been dreaming of this moment for 15 years.
“When I was at school I was in a metalwork class and had finished all my projects and the teacher said, ‘Now you can build whatever you like’. And I thought ‘Oh my god, there’s so much freedom in that’,” he recalls. “So I did some research and decided I wanted to build a mini pocket bike – and the teacher laughed and said, ‘Nah you’ve got to be an engineer to do that.’
“Pretty much every decision – what uni and what I studied after my Bachelors, has all been geared to this single objective. It’s basically been a life mission.”
Dennis, who turns 30 in August, became interested in electric motorcycles after his dad mentioned an article he’d read to his then-teenage son.
“He made a comment and I picked it up and ran with it,” he says. “I started doing a lot of research when I was 15, 16, and I thought, ‘This is going to be the future one day.”
How right he was. Electric motorcycle purchases jumped by 107 per cent in 2021. Dennis is looking to meet that demand head on as one of Australia’s few high-performance electric motorcycle manufacturers.
“What we’re doing is really hard to do. Building a motorbike from the ground up is very much easier said than done. There’s a lot of engineering that goes into it,” he explains. “We’re achieving this huge objective and there’s definitely a bit of an underdog story in that.”
Coming from an immigrant family without much money growing up, Dennis has been quietly building Savic for a number of years. After working as an engineer for Ford in Melbourne, Dennis unveiled his Savic Motorcycles prototype at the Moto Expo Melbourne in 2018.
Flash forward to 2022, and Savic Motorcycles has hundreds of pre-orders for its two C-Series models, Delta and Alpha (priced at $19,990 and $26,900 respectively), which are set to hit Australian roads later this year.
“Our vision and target is to grow to the size of Ducati,” he says. “The long-term vision is big business, multinational type manufacturing, strategy and distribution.”
Like many modern workplaces, Savic operates with a dispersed team. During the 2020 lockdowns, Dennis set up the workshop – which will eventually include a public showroom – in West Melbourne.
Now, his team of 20 full-time staff and around 15 contractors are based from there. But recently, Dennis needed to move back to Perth for family reasons – his wife is expecting their first child in October. “It is going to be a very big and interesting year,” he laughs.
Being a Qantas Business Rewards member has helped Dennis make the regular Perth-Melbourne commute and earn Qantas Points that can be used on things like flights and upgrades in the future. It’s also allowed him and his Chief Marketing Officer, Alexandra Bromley, to run their business more smoothly.
“When Alexandra and I were first talking, she was based in Sydney and we were talking about moving her to Melbourne. Because we thought that’s what you’d have to do,” he shares. “Long story short – I live in Perth, she lives in Sydney, the business is in Melbourne – and we fly around on an as-needed basis.”
With a majority of the team in Melbourne, and one team member in Brisbane, Savic Motorcycles joined Qantas Business Rewards to ensure they’re getting the most value out of their regular work flights.
“We’ve been flying Qantas for a while. I’ve flown quite a bit especially recently,” he says. “[Qantas Business Rewards] does make sense. We’ve got multiple people so booking flights is super easy, having your pass on your phone is awesome, the convenience is really good.”
Winning 250,000 Qantas Points will now enable Dennis to amp up Savic Motorcycles’ marketing efforts in the coming months.
“We’d love to fly a couple of motorcycle journalists down to Melbourne to test ride the bike,” he says. “And we do come to Melbourne for investor meetings – investors want to do their due diligence, see the facility and walk through. I’ve got to be here to do that.”
So the wheels are in motion. But how will Savic win over the purists who like the sound of a loud, exhaust-driven vroom?
“The reality is, we don’t try and win them over,” Dennis says. “I’m very much a revhead and I love the sound of a V8 engine and all that stuff. But it’s a different riding experience.
“One of the things that I love about riding our bike is how quiet it is – there’s something calming about it. You kind of glide through the air and you don’t have any gear changes. It’s less intimidating to potentially new riders. You can’t say one or the other is better – I like both.”
After going through the ABS (anti-lock braking system) development program with Bosch, and with final vehicle durability testing underway, customers should have their motorbikes by the end of the year.
“Last night I was in the office working late and I just looked and thought… I’m so proud of how far the team’s come,” Dennis says. “We’ve done a good job.”
Visit savicmotorcycles.com for more.
CREDITS: Adam Bub