Ascend Motors
Ascend Motors

Ascend Motors

founders@rideascend.com | 914-355-8653

View the deck for our seed fundraise here.

Overview

The electrification of motor vehicles is a growing trend, and there have been many emerging ventures and startups attempting to build electric vehicles. This includes incumbents such as Ford, GM and Tesla building cars and trucks, as well as more recent EV startups.

The growth of this market is apparent, however there is a lack of a centralized energy management operating system to support the electrification and power management of these vehicles. Every major venture has their own in-house mechanism, with an over dependence on third party battery manufacturers. Even disregarding this, there is an emphasis on the utility of “hardware only” approaches to build better vehicles, and insufficient attention allocated towards the software layer that dictates the modulation of energy.

We apply our core technology to a large and nascent subdomain within the EV industry: electric motorcycles. Electric motorcycles present an unprecedented improvement in riding performance and precision, but are held back from mass market adoption due to their high price, heavy weight, and limited driving range.

Why Now?

The electric vehicle market in the United States has grown from a few thousand vehicles in 2010 to more than 315,000 vehicles sold annually from 2018 to 2020. Motorcycle riders will inevitably follow this trend, as electric motorcycles are more performant, precise, and maintainable than their gas-powered counterparts.

Moreover, motorcycle manufacturers are 5-10 years behind cars in introducing quality-of-life features such as keyless ignition, GPS-enabled theft prevention, blindspot detection, cloud connectivity, and integration with a mobile application. Focusing on the customer, rather than building loud engines, allows us to deliver the same quality of user experiences that people have come to expect from consumer software applications.

Our Core Technology

We are building the infrastructure and the operating system for the general purpose electrification of vehicles. This includes better cell management software, optimizations in the battery performance level (input and output) by utilizing software and constant monitoring mechanisms. We couple our energy management software with our custom power trains and battery packs, and eventually plan to incorporate improvements in batteries chemistries as they become commercially available.

Motorcycles: Where We’re Starting

We plan on using our core technology stack and apply them in building smart electric motorcycles.

Our first product is a street legal, electric motorcycle with industry-leading ergonomics, range, and spatially-aware safety features. We apply simultaneous-localization mapping (SLAM) to deliver immediate feedback to the driver when danger is pertinent (our application of which is patent-pending). Moreover, our approach to energy management allows for unprecedented range for a motorcycle in our weight class.

  • Lithium-ion batteries with higher silicon-to-graphite ratios for higher energy density. Our motorcycles will have 200-mile range (combined city and highway range), compared to the industry-leading range of 100-150 miles.
  • DC fast-charging capability to charge the bike from 0-80% in 35 minutes, compared to conventional charging times that take hours.
  • Augment the driver’s spatial awareness with sonar-powered blindspot and rear-end detection with tactile feedback.
  • Lithium ion cells with solid-state electrolyte membranes to improve energy transfer capacities by up to 400%.
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Our Progress

Since we incorporated in Jan 2022, we’ve:

  • Built a 96V electric motorcycle that has 100 miles range on mixed city/highway roads, and drives at speeds up to 100mph.
  • Built a custom-geometry battery pack for our v4 prototype capable of 200 miles mixed city/highway range.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness of our collision prevention sensors and algorithms (patent pending).
  • Developed a proprietary battery management system software later (patent pending).
  • Have 125 paid deposits from consumers to purchase our 26,000 dollar motorcycle when released and also LOIs from 5+ police departments to use our vehicles.
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Dashboard For Vehicles and Fleet Management

With our dashboards, riders can monitor the performance of batteries, keep tabs on their vehicle, and have access to any data points needed for repairs—all with the seamless integration of our smart sensors. Riders can also control certain functions of the vehicle using this dashboard — control performance modes, security features, suspension, and more.

A demo is viewable at rideascend.com/dashboard

Team

Kunal Shah: Engineer at Levels, CoFounder and CTO at Secureframe, Founder and CEO at compose.ai, Founding team and engineering lead at On Deck.

Vishnu Srinivasan: CoFounder and CTO at Tap, Product and Engineering at Sym, Pallet, Athelas and Abbvie, analyst JP Morgan, Investing at Contrary Capital and Soma.

Alex Trevizo (Hardware Engineer): Lead Mechanic and general manager at Moto Guild.

Advisors

Wes Chang: Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Columbia University, PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University

Zachary Rubin: Built electric motorcycles at Mission Motors and Livewire.

Eliot Horowitz: CEO at Viam, Co-founder of MongoDB

Faraz Khan: Founder at Screenhero (acq. by Slack), built the first electric car in Pakistan in 2006.

Why We Will Win

Our team holds diverse sets of expertise and and is positioned to build and lead a leading mobility company for decades to come. We are a fast-moving set of builders with deeply technical and scientific backgrounds.

Our founders, Kunal and Vishnu, have held founding and leadership roles at growing companies. Kunal led the product and engineering efforts at On Deck, where he was a founding teammate, built a team and led the vision for compose.ai, which participated in YC W21, and was the product lead for In-App Social Features at Levels Health. Vishnu was an early employee at Athelas, Sym, and Pallet, and focused his grad school research on techniques to mitigate energy usage for computation in drones and other such vehicles. He has also worked on projects/research areas focusing on low energy computation.

Our lead hardware engineer, Alex, runs Motoguild, one of the most prolific motorcycle shops in California, and has been building motorcycles for the past twenty years.

Wes Chang, our battery technology advisor, is a post-doc research scientist at Caltech and incoming Assistant Professor at Drexel University. Wes received his PhD from Princeton, where he worked on ultrasonic characterization of batteries.

Finally, Zach Rubin specifically built electric motorcycles at LiveWire and Mission Motors and constructed a winning electric motorcycle build for the famed Isle of Man race, one of the most trying motorcycle courses in the world.

Building in Public

As we continue to iterate on our prototype, we’re surrounded by a passionately supportive community group of riders, builders, and operators.

https://twitter.com/RideAscend/status/1506406168058421249
https://twitter.com/kunalshxh/status/1504135849994121221
https://twitter.com/vishnaga/status/1531486454785789952
https://twitter.com/vishnaga/status/1502065773703016449

Prototype

We’ve built a smaller motorcycle with a 72V 50Ah battery and 72V 3000kW motor to demonstrate our intent to build the electric motor into the rear swing arm to make space for multiple battery packs and make possible our target range figures.

Market Size

We plan to first address the premium motorcycle market, followed by adjacent markets to which we can apply our vertical stack of custom battery packs and energy modulation software, such as e-bikes, drones, and ATVs.

The global motorcycle market size was valued at $119.33 billion in 2021. The market is projected to grow from $127 billion in 2022 to $223 billion by 2029.

The global electric motorcycle market was valued at $15.92 billion in 2020, and is projected to reach $30.5 billion in 2030, registering a CAGR of 7.4% (2020-2030).

The e-bike market was valued at $27.22 billion in 2021, and is projected to reach $54.48 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 12.26% (2022-2027).

The global ATV and UTV market was valued at $7.6 billion in 2017, and is projected to reach $11.95 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 6.7% (2020-2027)

The global unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drone market was valued at $26.3 billion in 2021, and is projected to reach $41.3 billion in 2026, registering a CAGR of 9.4% (2021-2026)

Roadmap

We have currently started our work on building better algorithms and methods for energy management at a software level and are looking into building smart sensors that work hand in hand with the motorcycles we build. Additionally, we are starting on our operating system/dashboard for energy management in vehicles soon after and expect this to be done by August of 2022.

In regards to the motorcycle production and build, the timeline below showcases our timeline for the same.

Feb - May 2022: Built a functional prototype that acts as a proof of concept in regards to mileage, top speed, acceleration and charging metrics.

May 2022 - Feb 2023: Build a vehicle that validates the design and is highway safe and ready. Has advanced safety features, fully functional with the proof of concept methods integrated. Procure deposits for 1000 sales.

Feb 2023 - Aug 2024: Build a production batch of 1000 motorcycles, and sell for $26,000 each, for a total of $26m in revenue. Begin prototyping ATVs, drones, and e-bikes with our existing battery management stack and powertrain.