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Project Katara

This completely custom EV was developed from the ground up by my company, Amped Emotos. Our vision was to build high performance, lightweight, low cost, electric motorcycles tailored for specific fleet markets.

Designed from the Ground Up Based on Customer Needs

With a team of Berkeley engineers, we were sure we could build a cool bike. The problem was making sure that the bike could serve a real purpose in a specific market. To ensure we didn't completely miss our mark, my team and I conducted research to better understand the needs of our potential customers. We also conducted research on the competitive landscape of EVs and ICEVs in our market. For example, we met with real police officers from various departments around the country, gradually gleaning insights that helped us keep the customer at the core of our design process.


After performing our research, we confirmed our initial hypothesis: that urban police and the military would most value our new product. With this insight, we created a list of essential features and specifications that were most important to these target markets. This list included things like being low priced, low maintenance, lightweight, and high performance while having flexible ground clearance, traction control, and fast charging, among other features.

Holistic Design Process

It was extremely important for us to remember the customer in the design of the vehicle, while also considering the limitations of engineering in a vacuum. It is easy to say "let's make a bike that does x, y, and z," yet hard to achieve this without a detailed plan. We decided that the first stage of our design process would be to take inspiration from others (no reason to reinvent the wheel). Of the many bikes we looked at, only a few inspired us, and even fewer were EVs. With these "inspiration bikes" picked out we began considering the strengths and weaknesses of each, creating a massive list of pros and cons. Lastly we created a list of all of our tablestakes features that we needed to have and another list of add-on features that could be easily installed with little modification (police lights, sirens, etc.) 

Prototyping, Testing, and Iterating

Using the insights we gained from our research, I organized the engineering team into four key subsystems: frame, suspension, powertrain, and electrical. Each of these subsystems needed to integrate with the others perfectly in order for the vehicle to work as intended. On top of this, these subsystems needed to be developed in parallel in order for us to hit our deadlines. Continuous assembly, integration, and testing was required to get everything working as intended. Each iteration was better than the last, taking us step by step closer to creating our vision. Because of our excellent team, we were able to build out the prototype vehicle at a record pace. In just eight weeks, we had gone from having an idea floating around in our heads to riding a real-world monster of a motorcycle. 

Project Katara Video:

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