NEXT Electric Motors CEO Xulei Xu is excited about the future of electric mobility, and his company co-founders Estefanía Hernández, Antonio Navarro Herrero and Ben Holzemer are driving the company forward with the NX1, an electric moped reminiscent of a futuristic Honda Elite.
We spoke with Xu recently to learn more about the young Spanish company based in Valencia and its origins.
Xulei, when and how did the NX1 go from concept to production?
The project started exactly one year ago. It’s crazy to think that in May 2017 the four co-founders of NEXT Electric Motors didn’t know each other yet. But thanks to the help of the Miguel Hernandez University in Spain, who introduced us last year, we have the opportunity to be here today and together.
On one hand, we have Antonio and Estefania who won the World Championship in Innovation in Motostudent 2016. After that experience, they started to think about the idea of creating a company to apply all their experience and expertise gained during the competition.
For those who are not familiar with Motostudent, it’s an international championship where students from 70-plus universities around the world design and build a Moto3 motorbike from the MotoGP World Championship and compete each against each other. Currently, we’re also building an electric motorbike to compete in Motostudent 2018 that will take place in Spain’s Motorland Racing Circuit next October.
On the other hand, at the same time, Ben and I also had the idea of creating a company to produce of electric motorbikes because we’re strongly convinced that it’s the future of mobility.
During our first meeting together, we immediately realized that were perfectly compatible and had the same ideas about the future of electric vehicles. Since that moment, we started to work really hard and we expect to deliver the first units of the NEXT NX1 in winter 2019.
What was your career background leading up to NEXT Electric?
We all come from very different backgrounds and that’s what makes us a strong and complete team. The experience of the team ranges from Junior World Championship track engineers, experts in marketing from multinational companies, international trade specialists and finance guys who worked for international consultancy and private equity firms. However, there is something that glues us together: the passion for motorsports and technology.
Tell me how NEXT Electric Motors is being accelerated in Lanzadera through the Garaje program.
Lanzadera is probably one of the best things that happened to us since we started the company. They are extremely helpful and are accelerating us providing all sorts of resources: coaching, office space, and training covering the different parts a business, financing, networking, etc. They have a great staff that’s helping us to achieve our goals.
What are your thoughts on the future of two-wheeled electric transportation?
We truly believe that the future of transportation will be electric, not only in two-wheeled vehicles, but in any mean of transportation you could imagine. The main handicap that we have nowadays is the capacity and the recharging times of the batteries. Although there have been significant improvements in the last decade, we believe there’s still a lot of room for improvement to develop new materials and technologies in energy storage devices that will boost the massive adoption of electric vehicles worldwide.
When might the NX1 be available in the United States?
Our short term plans are to start delivering the first units of the NX1 in Spain next winter and then expand the operations to the rest of Europe. We don’t have yet a clear timeframe for the US, but once the European market is consolidated we will definitely seek new markets, and the US is very attractive for electric vehicles.