First announced last week, Damon Motors Inc. has officially broken ground.
The plant, which will include manufacturing, development and research for all-electric motorcycles, will be located at 12850 112B Ave. in the Bridgeview community.
A release from the City of Surrey notes Damon’s EV Centre of Excellence “will be a first-of-its-kind in the electric motorcycle space, using sensor fusion, robotics, and AI to enhance rider safety and help them stay connected to their surroundings.”
The 10,220-square-metre facility is expected to bring in 300 manufacturing jobs and 500 jobs in other technological and marketing jobs, said CEO and co-founder Jay Giraud. The plant is also a partnership with Bosa Properties.
“This plant alone is capable of producing 40,000 bikes a year. That sounds like a lot but right now, the 160 million motorcycles are sold annually … It’s twice the volume of cars around the world,” said Giraud at a media event to unveil two of the bikes at Surrey City Hall on Tuesday (Oct. 5).
The event was attended by politicians from all three levels of government, including Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, who announced Damon Motors would be receiving $400,000 for its EV powertrain system from the province’s CleanBC Go Electric program. The system, according to the province, is expected to create about 11 new full-time jobs.
“B.C. is home to many innovative clean-tech companies that are helping us grow as a leader in the electric vehicle sector … The strength of the innovative approach Damon Motors exhibits will propel the company toward being a global leader,” said Ralston.
Giraud said that while “most people don’t like motorcyclists, most people don’t like motorcycles on the road,” it’s the “most important form of mobility for 1.5 billion people every single day.”
He noted that some cities are so congested “that motorcycling is really the best way and the only way to get around.”
“So for the next 25 to 50 years, or even beyond, motorcycling will be the most important form of transportation and it’s not being evolved from the motorcycle companies we all know today.”
With the electric motorcycles, Giraud said Damon Motors is hoping to reinvent the future and “solve the needs of 1.5 billion daily commuters for emissions, safety and noise.”
The bikes include radar on the front and back of the bike, vibrating handlebars to warn the rider when a vehicle brakes suddenly in front, 4G technology and the ability to show a rider’s blindspots.
Dom Kwong, COO and co-founder, added the bikes can go 320 kilometres on a single charge, for a combination of city and highway driving.
He added the technology on these motorcycles is “future-proofed for all emerging infrastructure that we build not only here in Canada but around the world.”
It can also reach a top speed of 320 km/h.
But Kwong noted that while top speed is “fantastic as a spec,” the motorcycles don’t have to go fast.
“Because we can control the power of this bike with software, we can make it go as fast or as slow as you like,” he said.
“In fact, we can make it go as slow as anyone is comfortable riding this motorcycle. From novice riders to experienced riders, this motorcycle will literally grow with you in experience.”
A City of Surrey release notes Damon Motors already has $40 million in global preorders for its flagship HyperSport bike.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said it makes “good sense for Damon Motors to plant roots here.”
“In addition to adding more than 800 new local jobs to our economy, this facility will be a catalyst in advancing Surrey’s cleantech growth. It is fitting to say the least that Surrey has been chosen for this new site.”
John Martin, vice-president of Bosa Commercial, said his company is proud to partner with Damon, “such an exciting new company, to bring this site to life and drive new green jobs in our region.”
“This local start-up success story is a source of great pride for British Columbians, and we’re pleased to be part of the strategy to keep Damon Motors thriving here at home,” Martin said.
– With files from Tom Zytaruk