Contxto – Based in Madrid, but with Costa Rican origins, OX Riders is one hell of a cool startup. The post-pandemic world is urging us to change several habits that were crucial and rigid parts of our lifestyles; transportation being one of the many.
In a region where long commutes and crowded public transport vehicles can’t coexist with the new social distancing normal, old habits must die, or at least, dramatically change.
OX Riders, hardware and tear
OX Riders, created by a Costa Rican founding team, offers what they market as highly stylized, yet practical motorcycles for the everyday citizen in their everyday lives.
Tica founder, Valeria Valverde, along with her co-founders Martín Fernández, Lizhong Zhang, and Adrián González, will initially launch their product in Spain, where the company is based. Their first model, OX One is offered in two versions; 50cc, which is able to travel at 50 kilometers per hour and 125cc capable of reaching 120 kilometers per hour.
The vehicle offers connected IoT technology, removable and rechargeable batteries, and obviously customization for those design freaks, such as myself. “Smartbox” is their technology that interconnects and upgrades to allow communication of the vehicle and its surrounding at all times.
Software in an intelligent vehicle
The software is supported by 360-degrees of sensors to diminish probabilities of crashes and assault. This system uses artificial intelligence (AI) and GPS to broadcast information to and about the user, including automatic emergency calls when the vehicle falls or is being stolen.
Its batteries can also be charged to up to 80 percent of its full capacity by just plugging it for two hours into any regular electric outlet. The founders mention their important focus on making the battery portable, since most people in Madrid live in garage-less apartments, making it difficult to charge while at home.
According to a report, the product will reach European and US markets by January 2021. Starting in Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and the US, the product can already be preordered with some perks for early buyers.
“An affordable motorcycle for an adventurous public”
This heading is what OX Riders hopes to convey to its potential market.
I can agree with the latter part of the tagline, but another tag worth looking at is the €4,000 (US$4,540) price tag. At such a cost this product can still be considered premium for most of the world if not for the European market. And indeed, when it comes to sustainability, scale matters.
Moreover, I believe there is a market opportunity for low-cost vehicles due to the emerging post-Covid norm, where public transport may not be the best option to travel if you want to stay away from the virus (which I assume most people do).
While OX Riders aren’t necessarily the alternative that is going to “democratize” private transport ownership, it’s market may be elsewhere. Read on.
“eLEctriC MotORcyclEs aLreaDY exIst, bRuh!”
Yes, you are right they do, but the devil is in the details, my dear hater. There are two ways about creating sustainable transport; you can either engender new revolutionary tech or you can redeploy existing technology via an optimized business model or by fine tuning to a specific market.
Tesla, for instance, didn’t reinvent the wheel (pun intended), they just turned an existing technology and matched it into a car you wouldn’t be afraid to show your father in law. A market for status-worried rich people that also somehow care about the environment.
Nevertheless, from an honest standpoint, I truly believe there’s a big important market for sustainable, well-designed products. While most people believe design is just a “nice-to-have feature”, I believe some product’s value prop can be based entirely on great design and UX.