Students turn team STORM Eindhoven into a company
Entrepreneurship, technology and creativity, it all comes together at the Technical University of Eindhoven (TU/e). Today we talk to team STORM Eindhoven: how to turn a student team into a real business.
Around the world in 80 days
Verkaik, who is currently graduating as a Sustainable Energy technologist, looks back on the past couple of years. How a group of students decided to build an electric motorcycle to stimulate the use of clean vehicles. The absolute highlight of their project is the 2016 trip around the world on their self-build motorbike. It brought them to countries like Turkmenistan and China and proved that their design of a set of modular batteries actually worked.
With charged batteries, the students were able to cover about 400 kilometres on their electric motorcycle. Changing a battery took about 7 minutes. The student team and their trip were covered widely by national and international media. When they entered the city of New York, their image was displayed on one of the Times Square billboards.
“We just want to make everything electric.”
Electric driving in Kenya
But how can you top such a success? Verkaik laughs. "We can try to drive around the world in 70 days." But how does that bring them closer to their goal of putting electric driving further on the map? Not that much, they’ve come to realize.
And so team STORM Eindhoven comes to an end. But the mission continues. Under a new label, Spike, the soon to be graduates continue as a company. They use their knowledge of building electric vehicles to help companies make the switch to electric driving.
"In Kenya, a lot of people have a motorbike, often of miserable quality and highly polluting. Kibo has been developed for the Kenyan market as an affordable, clean and safe alternative to the current motorbikes.” The company approached the students to integrate their knowledge of electric driving into the Kibo motorcycle.
Safety and clean mobility
Verkaik, who has just returned from a business trip to Nairobi, is very enthusiastic. He tells us about a meeting he had with a taxi driver (many taxis are motorcycles in Kenya), who was able to buy a Kibo with a micro loan. The man was happy with his investment. The Kibo led to more customers and fewer accidents.
During his visit, which coincided with a UN conference on clean mobility, Verkaik also talked to policymakers from other African countries. They also expressed an interest in the concept of electric motorcycles. Verkaik also sees opportunities for other continents, including Europe.
The idea behind the company Spike is to develop an electric powertrain. "Many vehicle manufacturers want to make the shift from an internal combustion engine to an electric one, but they don’t know how. We want to build a standard powertrain that can easily be used in small vehicles such as motorcycles, tuk tuks and even small cars. We just want to make everything electric”, says Verkaik. Starting with Kenya.