Brooklyn- and Stockholm-based startup Tarform is setting a new standard for eco-friendly electric motorcycles. Its design includes a zero-emission power train and replaces standard automotive materials, such as petroleum-based plastics and leather, with more sustainable alternatives, including a flaxseed composite and recycled plastic bottles. Currently being prototyped at the Brooklyn tech collective New Lab, a bespoke “founder’s edition” of the motorcycle will be available later this year for between $31,000 and $60,000, depending on levels of customization. Next year, Tarform plans to introduce a production model with a sticker price of $22,000, making it competitive with other premium electric motorcycles on the market. (Harley-Davidson’s forthcoming LiveWire is expected to start at $30,000.)
Front- and rear- facing cameras combine with AI and haptic feedback in the handlebars to alert riders to their surroundings. If a rider is taking a curve too fast, the handlebars might vibrate, signaling her to slow down.
A purring engine
EVs don’t roar like gas-powered motorcycles, a safety problem for riders who need to be as visible—and audible—as possible. A signature humming sound, designed by Swedish composer Adam Nordén, grows stronger as the bike accelerates, so surrounding cars always hear it.
Tarform is crafting the bike out of different organic materials, experimenting with kombucha-derived leather and pineapple-leaf fibers for upholstery. “Send it back to us, and we’ll recycle it,” says Tarform founder Taras Kravtchouk.
The bike’s look: Scandinavian minimalism meets James Bond. “We want to get more people excited about electrification in general,” says Kravtchouk. “The primary way to do that is to create something inspiring and desirable.”
Fifty-five percent of the bike’s exterior is 3D printed, from the side panels to the logo to the taillight covers, which are made from recycled plastic bottles and packaging. 3D printing reduces manufacturing waste and allows the bike to be built in countless permutations.
A version of this article appeared in the October 2019 issue of Fast Company magazine.