Good morning Arjan, and welcome to this interview. Can you introduce yourself and your company?
Yes of course. My name is Arjan Voorbij. I am the co-founder and CEO of KERV Automotive, a new Belgian OEM. We developed a tilting vehicle with 3 wheels. We started with a small team in 2016, and we now have some vehicles that are exciting to drive, so I’m very delighted to be in charge of this project.
Can you tell me a bit more about the vehicle? What makes it unique and what market are you aiming at?
It’s a three wheeled vehicle with one wheel in the front and two wheels in the rear where the drive train is placed between them. The cabin is fitted to the front wheel and is rotating/tilting to the rear frame with an active system based on the driver input and state of the vehicle. This means that the tilting system is fully automatic and safe, and because the driver does not tilt the vehicle itself, very comfortable also. The fact that the vehicle is fitted with an active tilting system makes is unique in its kind and provides the driver and passenger a unique experience no other vehicle will give you.
As the current model is fully fitted with all modern features plus this unique tilting system, it is really an exclusive vehicle. We will start production in low numbers while aiming at the top of the market. The target customers will be people who are looking for having fun in driving like motorcyclists or owners of sports cars who want a different driving experience which is safer than driving a motorcycle as well.
Since your product is so unique, I guess it must be difficult to forecast the demand or size of the market? Can you elaborate a bit on that?
Of course a direct benchmark is difficult as there are no direct competitors, but if you only look at the market between sport and fun cars (not hypercars) and motorcycles. On the other hand, there is a benchmark of brands and products which show proven sales over the years. The Kerv will be in this scope of sales number and price level and we have already received e-mails from enthusiastic visitors of our website who have become ‘members’ of the Kerv community with the intention of buying one of the first models.
As the production numbers to start from as well as the business model are based on low volumes there is little risk involved from business perspective.
Do you already have a date when the vehicle will come to the market?
As we have up to now finished the base of the vehicle design and the development of the tilting system which we have tested in the last 5 years, we are currently in the process of setting up cooperation arrangements and funds for the last phase to production and start of sales. We are progressing nicely on this front and are aiming to come to the market by the end of 2023.
And are there still opportunities to bring in potential partners?
Yes definitely! We would love to do this with suppliers located in Belgium. I know the automotive industry and supplier base in Belgium is quite big and I think this can lead into a beautiful cooperation.
That’s a very nice hand being extended! And when will I be able to book a test drive?
Ha ha, unfortunately the number of prototypes we have are limited at this point, so we are not able to use them for test drives on a large scale.. But for you Ward, I’ll make an exception! Of course for companies which are very serious in a cooperation arrangement or in becoming part of Kerv, we can naturally have them experience the driving sensation of our product.
Thanks for the ever so interesting update Arjan. I hope to meet you in real life again very soon.
And I will bring one of the prototypes with me for a test drive.. Thank you for having this interview with me.