Coming to CES this year is an electric motorcycle with some ambitious promises. The Davinci DC100 is supposed to be an electric motorcycle featuring 135 peak horsepower, a top speed of 124 mph, and 249 miles of range. But more than just a strong performer, Davinci Motor says that this thing will be able to ride and park itself using a self-balancing system.
We’ve been following a lot of electric motorcycle concepts over the past several months. Most of them have been on the lower end of the market, while others brought along nifty features. But every once in a while, a motorcycle manufacturer or supplier will try to push the envelope. A good example is Autoliv, the company trying to put an airbag on your motorcycle.
Davinci Motor Corporation, a startup company in China, wants to prove itself not just as a motorcycle manufacturer, but a tech company, too. Thus, it’s rolled into Booth 10163 of CES 2023 with the U.S. debut of its ambitious DC100.
Davinci Motor Corporation is a company with a short history. It was founded in 2013 with the goal of exploring research and development of robotic vehicles. The company is stacking the deck with engineers from Beijing’s Tsinghua University, and their goal is to make motorcycles that offer an effortless and joyful riding experience.
Since then, the team has been working on a motorcycle that it also calls a robot. The wraps were first taken off of the DC100 in 2021. Back then, the company described the motorcycle as a “two-wheeled dynamic robot that is able to understand its environment and translate the information it gathers into an optimized, smart and high-performance riding experience.”
At first glance, this sounds like something incredible, albeit vague. Thankfully, the website explains what this means:
The DC100 has more than 1000 chips and over 200 advanced sensors that track accurate information on the environment, vehicle movement status, road conditions, battery and motor temperature, lean angle, and so on. While riding, the DC100 will combine this data to precisely control its power system and so ensure optimal performance under all conditions. This will make your riding experience easier and safer, allowing you to fully enjoy the ride.
Now, a lot of motorcycles already have a bunch of sensors that monitor what the machine is doing. They can also react to changing conditions like wheelies, a loss of stability, a loss of traction, and more to keep the bike shiny side up. However, it appears that Davinci is suggesting that this motorcycle will do more than that by using the data it collects for an adaptive throttle system. Davinci’s goal is to make a motorcycle as easy to ride as possible, so this makes sense.
The company has also says it’s applied that concept to maneuvering the machine. The company says that controlling the throttle and brakes can be done with just a single hand. Thanks to the motorcycle’s linked braking system and numerous computers, Davinci says that the motorcycle can provide “the most suitable braking force distribution for every braking dynamic.” And all the rider needs to do is focus on the single brake lever in front of them on the right.
Another maneuvering feature that caught me by surprise is the fact that the company claims the motorcycle has a “creep mode.” You know how an automatic car likes to dawdle along at like 5 mph after you let go of the brakes? This motorcycle will do the same when you release the brake lever. This is a feature that I’d see no real benefit in having, but then again, this motorcycle doesn’t appear to be made for someone like me. A feature I do like is the inclusion of a reversing mode that uses the bike’s motor to back it out of a parking space. Other motorcycles have this, and I admit there have been times when I wished my old bikes had a feature like it.
These features are all tied to a suite of rider assistance tools that include traction control, hill start assist, and ABS, to more novel offerings like a hill descent assist that’ll keep the motorcycle from running away from you on a slope. It’s because of these features that Davinci calls it a robot. That may be stretching the definition a little, but the company’s plans for the motorcycle will bring it a lot closer. More on that in a moment.
Propelling the DC100 is a hub motor rated for a peak output of 135 horsepower. The company says the motor is capable of propelling the DC100 to 60 mph in around 3 seconds and pushes on to a top speed of 124 mph. Davinci didn’t use other electric motorcycles as a benchmark. Instead, it targeted the performance of a 1,000cc gas-powered motorcycle. The horsepower and acceleration figures are right on point, even though a liter bike from the 1980s will smoke it in top speed.
Providing juice for that motor is a chunky 17.7 kWh lithium battery. That’s just a touch larger than the largest battery of the Zero SR/S, which comes in at 17.3 kWh.
In the Zero, that’s good for up to 227 miles of city range. The DC100 claims 222 miles on the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) and 249 miles on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). Davinci also claims that when hooked up to a DC fast charger, the motorcycle can get a full charge in just 30 minutes.
This motorcycle would be cool enough as it is. I dig the weird headlight setup and its futuristic body. And while it misses the mark on a liter bike, it seems like a competent electric motorcycle. And if you don’t like the DC100 and have very deep pockets, you can get a Davinci Classic.
This is the DC100 but with the bodywork stripped away and replaced with a French calfskin seat, custom CNC parts, Brembo brakes, Öhlins front suspension, carbon fiber parts, and more.
I like the idea of the trick features for making riding easier for some folks, and I can even get behind the gauge cluster setup. Instead of a gauge cluster, you just plop your phone down and use your phone as your bike’s display. But it gets way weirder.
Davinci says that it has much larger plans for this motorcycle. The company plans on adding an Electric Power Steering system and a 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit, which will allow the motorcycle to balance itself. That bit of equipment also combines with some sensors to create what Davinci calls “self-riding & target recognition.” What this means is that the DC100 will be able to ride to a target set by the rider.
Apparently, Davinci wants the DC100 to be able to follow you and perhaps even be your jogging buddy. That sounds a bit silly, and there’s more, the proposed system includes an automatic parking function and remote control. I could see myself remote-controlling a motorcycle for funsies. This is pretty novel, but not new. Honda’s been working on similar technology for several years.
It’s unclear how far along Davinci is in this, or if buyers will have to wait for the technology to deploy later. The bikes also feature over-the-air updates, and Davinci says that they would be used for wireless upgrades to the motorcycle’s systems.
The DC100 made a debut in China and Europe last year, and the company has set its U.S. launch at CES 2023. As of right now, Davinci is collecting reservations for the DC100, projecting a $27,500 price. The Classic, with its CNC parts and carbon fiber, is expected to set you back $90,000.
As with all new companies, take any promises with a grain of salt. Deliveries were originally supposed to begin in April 2022, then in July 2022. Deliveries are now expected to happen later this year. If news changes at CES, you’ll be sure to read it here!
(All Photos: Davinci Motor Corporation.)
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The non-classic has that hump in front of the seat that looks uncomfortable. The “classic” looks pretty cyber/steam-punk, which I appreciate.
The only alarming claim is 1000 chips in this thing. Do the individual battery cells have them? For dynamics, I’m wondering about the unsprung weight of that hub motor.
Self-balancing and basic self-driving seem reasonable. I wonder if the steering motor can act as a damper (with regen!).
Do you have to use your own phone as the dash?
Is there something about renders that say everyone needs the exact same pose? Look at the image above and the flying car one. They could be twins.
Giant Pile of Nope. Price alone is an issue, add in the same number of chips as a full size truck? Seems like a steaming pit of Money that never ends and honestly analog is kind of why most start riding motorcycles anyway.
Yeah, half of my motorcycles still use carburetors, so I’m right there with you. But I do see what this company is going for: the people who want to ride, but don’t like the mechanics of riding, or perhaps aren’t physically able to ride easily. Basically, one of the target demographics of a trike!
1. is it vaporware? With being bit by so many fly by night companies Im adding this one to the list.
2. They know about the chip shortage right? They’re cramming it with chips that they might not have a steady supply line to. That can hurt production.
3. 222 miles on a charge, what does that range look like when I have it loaded up for motocamping
I would say, without fear of contradiction, that Davinci is exactly as far along in developing the “robotic” motorcycle as Honda is.
That thing looks like the rider is trying to make love to a polygon.
How good do my CG images need to be before I too can start to take deposits for a Cyber pretend-cycle? Excited for to try out some real E-motos as the technology grows in the near future, but this is probably not going to be a real thing.
“You know how an automatic car likes to dawdle along at like 5 mph after you let go of the brakes? This motorcycle will do the same when you release the brake lever. This is a feature that I’d see no real benefit in having, but then again, this motorcycle doesn’t appear to be made for someone like me.”
In Asian cities, motorcycles and scooters will filter between/among cars at red lights and fill in the gaps. I can see the creep mode being handy for that, rather than Fred-Flintstoning it or trying to modulate the throttle.
This thing seems to only have a single brake lever on the right hand control, same as the throttle. Without a creep mode pulling away smoothly would always be a fumble.
My right hand got a bit mangled so no way can I do anything with the throttle while using the brake. Not a problem on my normal bike with a foot brake, but on this thing I’d need the creep mode.
This linked brake and creep mode seems like it is made by people who don’t know how to ride for people who don’t know how to ride.
There you go! I could see this selling to people who don’t have great balance, perhaps have an injury, poor coordination, etc. Basically, the same demographics that are targeted by the likes of Can-Am, but still retaining two wheels.
I want an article on that new Curtiss electric bike! Now that thing has style!
I’m not a big bike guy, but I’ve ridden a few styles. Is it me or does this thing look extremely uncomfortable?
Especially the one without the bodywork. I’ll need some knee protectors to squeeze that battery.
Does that side stand on that silver one fold forward? And why do you want foot pegs that fold into the body?
(Disclaimer: I’ve never actually sen the show.)
Interesting to read about, but I vote nope due to lack of appeal to me.
It’s ugly, heavy and has no versatility as it sits, it is just a ride and a lot of dough.
I await a road test with actual performance to be published and a list of dealerships.
Hmm. A lot of the features seem a bit gimmicky. I mean, they’ll probably eventually be commonplace, but I don’t see them really transforming the experience. Nice luxuries, but not game-changers. And the styling really just doesn’t do it for me. That huge weird polygonal lump of a body…
…but the Classic! I don’t know exactly why, but oh damn does that strange boxy thing just tickle something deep in my hindbrain. I want to live in whatever world that bike came from. Presumably it’s the same world that Alpha lifted all their renders from. It’s just so bizarre, and so good!
While letting your motorcycle stalk you while you jog might be weird, I can see some benefit to it. What if you want to jog somewhere really far away but don’t want to jog back or are afraid of jogging through unsavory areas? Having your trusty robot motorcycle follow you on your journey not only gives you a ride home when you decide to stop jogging, but it gives you a convenient getaway vehicle if someone starts following you.
Granted, if a motorcycle is following you, you stand a much higher chance of being followed. And unless it has robotic security features you can practically guarantee someone will try to steal it and ride away, but it seems like it shouldn’t be too hard to implement a remote deactivation feature should a thief hop onto it, and who knows? Maybe you wouldn’t mind the attention from everyone asking why you’re walking your pet motorcycle.
It also occurs to me that you could literally put your motorcycle on a leash for a bit of theft protection.
It’s all sounds good, but when your robot motorcycle runs off and leaves you for another robot motorcycle then it won’t seem like such a good idea.
If it doesn’t have storage for a helmet and your safety gear what use is it half way through your jog?
Wear your helmet and gear on your jog!