The Volcon Grunt is rolling toward its summer 2021 ship date and has already begun early-stage production at the company’s Texas facility.
Distinguished from most other off-road motorcycles by its comically fat tires, the Volcon Grunt is the first product launched by electric powersports startup Volcon Motors.
Barely more than half a year ago, Volcon pulled off the sheet and unveiled the Grunt in all its offroad fun-bike glory.
The bike is optimized for both recreational riding and utility work, such as for use by hunters and fisherman or farm owners. The company is even creating accessories including a trailer that can haul up to 750 lb (340 kg) behind the bike.
To haul those kinds of loads, the Grunt is powered by a 37 kW (50 hp) motor with 102 Nm (75 lb-ft) of torque. When not connected to a heavy trailer, the Grunt claims to reach its maximum speed of 60 mph (96 km/h) in just 6 seconds.
And if those specs weren’t enough to pique the public’s interest, the $5,995 MSRP sure got everyone’s attention.
Volcon initially set an ambitious timetable for the Grunt’s launch, and in a rare move these days, the company is actually sticking to it.
As Volcon CEO Andy Leisner explained in a call with Electrek:
“We are still on track for our June 17 ship date. There’s a clock on the wall for the launch and all of our employees can see exactly how many days are left until the first bikes roll out the door.”
For now the only models rolling around are the initial design validation testing (DVT) bikes.
Those are essentially hand-built Grunts that the company is using to ensure that the vehicle is ready to go. All parts must be validated to ensure they perform together as intended and that the vehicle is ready for production.
Volcon expects to finish validating the DVTs by the end of this month and will move into production validation testing (PVT) in early June. The PVTs will ensure that the production lines built by Volcon in its Texas factory are up to snuff.
At that point Volcon will shift gears into full production, with the June 17 date still looking likely for commencing the first shipments of Grunts.
The process of producing a new electric motorcycle during a tumultuous time for global trade surely has not been without its challenges. The lingering effects of COVID-19-related shutdowns around the world have wreaked havoc on global supply chains in nearly every industry.
But Volcon planned for the unknown to ensure the company had the best chance of avoiding disruptions. As Andy continued:
“We are very lucky that our COO Bruce Riggs comes from the computer industry. He has our supply chain all dual-sourced. So if one of our sources faces a slowdown or even a stoppage, we can immediately pivot to the other and keep things running.”
That will likely be key for Volcon, who has shirked the idea of foreign production and instead opted to build their bikes in the US.
Andy is realistic about what that means though. While Volcon has a skilled team and is able to produce and/or source many of its parts locally such as the frames, several other components still must be sourced from overseas.
“Our facility is mostly assembly, we’re not winding motors or producing individual battery cells. Bout our chassis are built in Texas, all the welding is done locally. We have a motor vendor in Texas that we are also working towards, and we are NAFTA compliant.”
We’ve seen smaller-scale electric moped companies that have moved to US-based assembly, but in those cases the parts are still almost entirely sourced from overseas. In Volcon’s case, it sounds like the company is attempting to produce and source as much of the vehicle’s components locally as possible, as well as performing all of the assembly in the US.
Even with US-based assembly, the Grunt has remained surprisingly affordable compared to most other electric two-wheelers.
Priced at $5,995, the Grunt is nearly half the cost of the Zero FX, perhaps the only other remotely similar US electric motorcycle for comparison.
Keeping the Grunt affordable was important to the company, as Andy explained:
“We often see electric vehicles hitting somewhere around 1.2x to 1.5x the price of gas counterparts, and really want to be cost competitive with gas counterparts.”
The lack of street-legal status has also helped to keep the Grunt’s price down, since the bike is designed purely for off-road or private road riding.
That seems to have also helped make the Grunt more approachable to a wider range of riders.
Unlike typically tall dirt bikes that can be complicated and intimidating to many new riders, the Grunt is a much more approachable vehicle.
“The thing that makes me happiest to see, as a lifelong motorcyclist, is that we designed the Grunt not just for motorcyclists but for a wider audience. It doesn’t need a clutch, it’s low and it’s easy to ride. We’ve seen that around half of the pre-orders come from people that don’t already come from a motorcycle background. And this enables more people to experience powersports and off-road motorcycling. In just three months of riding the Grunt, I’ve seen more wildlife than in a lifetime of riding gas dirt bikes. It’s amazing what silence does for you.”
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