It was recently brought to my attention that a super cool and awesome electric motorcycle was on the season finale of the hit ABC show Shark Tank. The electric trike is called a Sway and it looks like one of the coolest vehicle designs I’ve seen in a long time. Check out this video of the Sway.
Sway Motorsports – Video
Looks totally awesome right? Can anyone tell me they don’t want one? I’ve never seen this thing in person, have no idea of the range, if it works well, and I already totally want to go buy it!
The Sway looks like an incredibly well designed trike and the concept seems interesting. It reminds me of a Can-Am Spyder but this is a lot more innovative and of course it’s and electric trike, meaning you don’t need to spend any money on gas.
The inventor of the sway, Joe Wilcox, used to work for Ideo which is a major a design consultancy firm. It seems the Sway has been his pet project for awhile and he was searching for an investment on Shark Tank. You can watch the Shark Tank episode with the Sway right here.
Editor’s Note – I have no idea how long this video will be up.
Sway – Shark Tank
If you are not familiar with the show Shark Tank it is a TV show where entrepreneurs and people with innovative small businesses go into the the “Shark Tank” to pitch investors flush with cash on putting money into their company or idea. The investors are known as “Sharks” and they figure out if a potential idea or company is worth investing in by asking questions and prodding the entrepreneurs in the Tank to understand what the service or product is all about and it’s potential.
Shark Tank is a copy of a British TV show called Dragon’s Den, which is actually a remake of a show that from Japan. Kind of odd actually since Japanese are a bit risk averse and entrepreneurship is viewed differently in Japan.
Anyway, Joe Wilcox was looking for an investment of $300,000 for a 10% stake in Sway. Most of the Sharks were extremely impressed with Joe and the design of the Sway electric scooter trike. Who wouldn’t be? What I found odd is Nick Woodman, the inventor of GoPro, was a guest Shark and he was not keen on investing but liked the idea of the Sway. He thought Joe would have better luck going it on his own since that’s what he did with GoPro. That’s probably for the better since Woodman clearly knows nothing about building vehicles.
Of course he did make the smart point in the episode that the market for the Sway is really people who already are inclined to ride a motorcycle or scooter. People who believe the are dangerous won’t just jump on a Sway. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, interjected, “In San Francisco, are you kidding me? Every little tech kid [will want one].” I have to agree with Nick Woodman that it’s unlikely people who are not interested in two-wheeled transportation will look at the Sway and would buy one. The best market would be people who have owned a motorcycle or scooter but might be looking for something with more stability and safety. Also as Cuban said tech kids with cash to spare would want one.
What was interesting about this episode is that all the Sharks said they were “out” meaning they would not invest. Just as Joe Wilcox was leaving he started talking and engaging with Mark Cuban. Cuban was still intrigued and said, “Make me an offer.” Then Wilcox decided to throw out a $300,000 for a 20% stake in the company and Cuban accepted. First time I’ve seen an entrepreneur secure money after everyone said “No” on Shark Tank.
It should be noted that one of the Shark Tank judges/panelists/investors is Lori Greiner. I am mentioning this because Lori Greiner is a judge in the Internet Official contest and ElectricMotorcycleClub.com is a first prize finalist. We assume that she voted for our domain and will in the grand prize voting round. We also hope everyone else will vote for us when voting opens up on June 12th. 🙂
If you saw the first above video you would have learned that Sway Motorsports is working with Govecs, which is well known and established electric scooter manufacturer in Europe. I think partnering with another company that has the technical expertise and manufacturing capability is a smart move.
Wilcox saying that you don’t need a motorcycle license to ride one might be a bit misleading and the Sway website it says;
License requirements will vary by municipality. We recommend checking your state laws regarding three-wheeled electric motorcycles before reserving your Sway. Sway can also be registered as a motorcycle. In California you do not need a motorcycle license to ride Sway, just a driver’s license.
There are two models of the sway;
- Sway Lithium ($7,999) – 40 city mile range, 5kw motor, and a 55 mph top speed
- Sway Lithium Plus ($10,999) – 60 miles city/40 miles highway, 8kw motor, 70 mph top speed
If you want the Sway Lithium or Lithium Plus you’ll have to deposit $500.
The Sway Lithium Plus is clearly a highway vehicle which means in most circumstances you’ll need a motorcycle license to ride one in a majority of states. The Sway Lithium sounds like it will only be for urban use. I should mention that a lot of states have helmet laws for scooters and motorcycles (in case you didn’t want to use one with the Sway.) Even Joe Wilcox wore one on his Shark Tank entrance.
In the Shark Tank episode Wilcox said he had spent $100,000-$200,000 to get to where he is. For vehicle design and manufacturing that’s peanuts. If he can make it that far with that amount of money I’m sure Sway can utilize the $300,000 from Mark Cuban well and they have a Govecs as a partner which works in their favor.
The better plan might be looking into partnering with companies that want to use the mechanical Sway system as well as the packaging of the battery, motor controller, and electric motor into the compact platform. I’m sure there are companies that would license the technology.
I personally like the Sway and the idea behind it and believe it will be successful and come to market. It’s priced right for something that will likely be one of many vehicles for someone who likes having interesting vehicles that gets people talking. We hope to see many Sway trikes out on the roads soon and hopefully the author will riding one.