Long before electric vehicles were an established part of Australia’s transport landscape, Dennis Savic was building the foundations for the country’s first high-performance electric motorcycle.
In 2014, while completing his engineering degree at UWA, Dennis began designing his first electric motorbike chassis. The hard-wearing aluminium frame, designed to house a giant battery pack and a rear wheel hub motor, quickly grew from a university thesis into a weekend obsession – and then, into the kernel of Australia’s most future-ready two-wheeled vehicle.
Three years later, in early 2017, Dennis, now a weight attribute engineer at Ford, linked up with the Perth-based designer, Dave Hendroff, to draw the initial sketches for an electric café racer – a bike that would be robust enough to house a giant lithium-ion battery, while delivering precise handling and over 200Nm of torque.
In November 2018, the first ground-up-designed prototype of the C-Series was unveiled at the Melbourne Moto Expo – propelling the bike straight onto progressive motorcyclists’ watchlists, and confirming Savic Motorcycles as a company to keep up with.
Today, with e-motorbike sales growing at over 100% annually, Dennis’s vision and tenacity have made him a household name in Australia’s EV manufacturing community. Despite the ravages of COVID and ongoing supply chain challenges, Dennis has grown his workforce fivefold, constructed four further generations of prototypes, and completed three capital-raisings – securing several federal and state government grants alongside private, institutional and ethical VC funds.
In 2022, the year the C-Series was officially approved for riding on Australian roads, the production prototype was named as the most innovative new product design in Victoria – securing top prize in the prestigious Victorian Premier’s Design Awards.
With so many accolades to his name, Dennis remains modest about his achievements – instead crediting the technical smarts and hard work of the team he’s assembled in Melbourne. It’s a team that in most cases reached out to him directly – from enthusiastic engineering students, to pioneering software developers, to worldly-wise suppliers – all itching to play a part in Australia’s most talked-about motorbike project.
Although most are still in their 20s and 30s, the team has gone on to develop a variety of celebrated components – from the muscular C-Series powertrain, built around a 16.2 kWh battery, to a custom ABS system developed with Bosch, to on-board software and IoT systems that keep riders in continuous contact with their bikes. These remarkable technologies have attracted an avalanche of interest: from hundreds of pre-order customers, to leading auto conferences and design exhibitions, to an advisory board that includes Formula One engineers, Silicon Valley founders, and motorcycle industry figureheads.
Yet despite all the illustrious company, Dennis is self-effacing about his own achievements.
“We’ve built a pretty impressive vehicle,” he says, “but it’s the amazing team we have working on it together that makes what we’re doing really special. The secret of our business has always been, and will continue to be, our people.”