Scorpio Electric’s CEO Joshua Goh shares how the company is emerging as an up-and-coming contender in the electric motorbike industry.
Singapore isn’t the first place you’d think of when it comes to producing electric motorcycles. In fact, the electric motorbike market in Southeast Asia is still very much in its infancy, and its growth is hampered by the complexity, time, and cost of scaling up in this area.
Despite the nascent market, one homegrown company is bravely charging ahead to roll out its one-of-a-kind electric motorbikes, undaunted about having to jockey against the big boys in the space.
This is Scorpio Electric, Singapore’s first electric motorcycle manufacturer. It was set up in 2017, under the public-listed luxury sports car distributor EuroSports Global.
Despite being a relatively young company, Scorpio Electric has already emerged as an up-and-coming contender in the electric motorbike industry.
A pioneering disruptor in the automotive industry
Founded by Melvin Goh and led by his son Joshua Goh, the duo had witnessed first-hand the sheer amount of internal combustion motorcycles zipping through the busy streets in Indonesia.
It offered a glimpse of how “two-wheel mobility is so intertwined with the lives of the locals” and also the pressing need for more sustainable mobility initiatives to help reduce global greenhouse gas,” the younger Goh, CEO, said.
Their vision for sustainability mobility in Southeast Asia led to them focusing their energies on electric motorbikes. The capital requirements are very different from two-wheelers, with a whole different set of certifications and regulations compared to four-wheelers.
"It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create something different and challenge the incumbents."
-- Joshua Goh
As most of the incumbents are not really looking at this technology area at the moment, it gives Scorpio Electric an opportunity to build its brand, he explains. By the time demand for electric motorbike adoption ramps up, Scorpio Electric hopes to be at the forefront of consumers’ minds.
The company name itself reveals plenty about the team’s ambitions.
Derived from Melvin Goh’s horoscope, the company’s name signifies core values like being bold and passionate in bringing the company forward.
“We want Scorpio Electric to be the choice of mobility, to be an aspirational brand and aspirational product…It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create something different and challenge the incumbents,” says Joshua Goh.
A visually and experientially exciting offering
The company has unveiled its flagship model, the futuristic looking Scorpio Electric X1 electric maxi-scooter.
The uniquely designed electric motorbike comes with a slew of impressive specifications, targeted at the “eco-conscious urban individual,” Goh points out.
The X1 is able to blaze down roads at a top speed of 105 km/h, and possesses an industry-leading range of 200 km on a single charge. It will be powered by cutting-edge battery technology, a 72V 5kWh proprietary battery pack from South Korea’s Samsung.
It’s also packed with other snazzy features like seamless mobile application connectivity and sensors that gather real-time data for AI-aided predictive analysis.
Being a European homologated international product, Goh says this bike is “poised to enter the international stage.” It’s already benchmarked itself against the likes of BMW and Harley Davidson, which have also produced revolutionary zero-emissions bikes.
Navigating battles and breakthroughs
Being surrounded by exotic sports cars growing up, Goh developed a deep passion for the automotive industry from a young age. He went on to pursue his interests in the finance sector, taking on roles related to capital markets, corporate finance, and corporate restructuring.
In 2017, he joined the family business and joined EuroSports Global Limited, where he oversaw general operations, strategic planning, and business development. Later in 2020, he took over the reins of Scorpio Electric.
It was tough starting out in the company’s early days, acknowledges Goh.
One key challenge was developing a stable supply chain ecosystem, he says.
Being a fairly new and small company, it was difficult to find partners and vendors who were willing to take the risks, let alone supply the components they needed to purchase. Most consumers were familiar with electric cars, and less so with electric motorcycles.
But guided by the team’s shared vision, their effort and persistence paid off, says Goh.
Scorpio Electric’s electric scooter has been in the works for more than four years, but it only managed to catch the attention of Chinese EV giant Shenzhen BYD Electronics and began discussions in 2022.
This year, it announced that BYD will be producing the first batch of X1 pre-production prototype units, supported by US$6.5 million in funding in January this year.
The team had been surprised by BYD’s interest given Scorpio’s relatively small size, and in fact had considered approaching a Thai or European company to do the assembly.
The X1’s main market will be Europe, though it has its share of “loyal supporters” in Singapore.
Since Scorpio Electric launched the virtual pre-orders of the X1 in 2021, orders have been robust. Customers have also been eagerly anticipating the X1 deliveries which will go on sale by the end of 2023. The company is targeting 2,000 to 3,000 units for first-year sales.
Goh is also looking forward to the chance to exhibit the X1 at the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori exhibition – a leading motorcycle show – in Milan, Italy, from Nov 7 to 12. Scorpio added that it will unveil other future electric motorcycle models at the show.
Goh recounts how he was in the midst of a business meeting when a BMW sedan owner rolled up at their office in Teban Gardens.
After learning about the product, the man placed a deposit for the X1 right there and then. The bike enthusiast wanted to add it to his collection of eight motorbikes.
“He told me, “You guys are doing something different from anyone else,” recalls Goh with a touch of pride.
“What makes us stand out is our attention to detail and design, whether it is the headlight, suspension, seat design, single-sided swingarm… All of it comes together to create a premium product that excites users,” he adds.
Working towards a green future
As of 2022, the electric motorcycle market in Southeast Asia remains at an early stage of development, constituting less than 1 per cent of the total market share. In contrast, China leads the pack, bagging a substantial 20 per cent market share for electric motorcycles.
On his five year vision, Goh says the firm is poised for big growth as the global electric scooter and motorcycle market is projected to take off massively.
By that time, Scorpio Electric will have an entire portfolio of electric motorcycle models at the ready, ranging from luxury models to affordable mid-range models that cater to the average consumer, says Goh.
He plans to leverage EuroSports Global’s strong distribution experience and work closely with partners to set up direct sales or distribution channels with Asia Pacific and European territories.
Currently, the electric motorcycle market is fragmented, with multiple players attempting to gain market share and stand out among the rest. But Goh declines to compare against other start-ups in the space, as “everyone is running their own race.”
In a competitive market like Southeast Asia, riders are also discerning about the price point. Other barriers to electric vehicle adoption include range anxiety and charging accessibility.
What’s needed is strong government intervention, subsidies to help incentivise private players and consumers, and efforts to ramp up infrastructure to help with adoption and raise awareness of electrified vehicles through campaigns.
By overcoming these barriers, it can accelerate the transition to electric mobility, combat air pollution, slash greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance energy efficiency, he points out.
People at the heart of the company
To take Scorpio Electric to new heights, a strong, talented and capable team is needed to bolster the homegrown firm’s success as a competitive player in the space.
Goh cites how honesty and the ability to take ownership of one’s mistakes are key values.
In the early days, he had brushes with engineers who would “promise lofty goals and be too bullish”, but fell short in their ability to admit mistakes and holistically review these goals.
Discipline is key, and that applies to both his professional and personal life too.
Some might be surprised to learn that Joshua dedicates six days a week to do CrossFit workouts in the gym. Leading this active lifestyle contributes to his ability to remain focused, determined and resilient to lead the business, he says.
While Goh doesn’t rule out the possibility of producing electric cars one day, he prefers to focus on bikes for the moment.
“In Southeast Asia, where urbanisation and environmental concerns are particularly acute, these advancements can play a transformative role… “We’re not just building electric motorcycles, we’re steering the course towards a cleaner, smarter, more eco-friendly world,” he says.
About Scorpio Electric
Since 2017, Scorpio Electric Pte. Ltd. is a Singapore-based electric motorcycle manufacturer focusing on design, performance, and technology.
Scorpio Electric Pte. Ltd. aims to be a global brand and technology innovator in the two-wheel electric space, seeking to be at the forefront of new sustainable mobility adoption. Scorpio Electric Pte. Ltd. is focused on developing sleek and premium electric motorcycles that share a symbiotic relationship with the user through smart capabilities.
Scorpio Electric Pte. Ltd is a subsidiary of EuroSports Global Limited.
About EuroSports Global Limited
Established in 1998, EuroSports Global Limited specialises in the distribution of ultra-luxury and luxury automobiles and the provision of after-sales services. The automobile sales business retails new ultra-luxury and luxury automobile brands and pre-owned automobile brands comprising of Lamborghini and Touring Superleggera.
EuroSports Global Limited is the sole authorised dealer for Lamborghini in Singapore since 2002 and Indonesia since 2018; and the exclusive distributor for Touring Superleggera in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia and non-exclusive distributor in the PRC since October 2012.
The company’s website is http://www.eurosportsglobal.com/
About kopi-C: the Company brew
This article was first published in kopi-C, a regular column by SGX Research in collaboration with Beansprout (https://growbeansprout.com), a MAS-licensed investment advisory platform, that features C-level executives of leading companies listed on SGX. These interviews are profiles of senior management aimed at helping investors better understand the individuals who run these corporations. Written by Toh Ee Ming