Taras Kravtchouk of Tarform Answers Four Questions for Founders
Newlab member company, Tarform, designs and develops a new breed of electric motorcycles that embody the spirit of craftsmanship, clean technology, and sustainability.
1. Why did you start Tarform? Do you remember the moment when you first thought of the idea?
I was working on a vintage Triumph from the ’70s in my garage in Brooklyn, my hands and tools covered in motor oil, trying to figure out what part—out of thousands—needed to be fixed. I have built several of these machines and they all had one thing in common: the internal combustion engine powered by fuel and fire. Getting them to run was like solving a mystery—trying to identify various sounds and where they were coming from—and when they occasionally did start, my shop was filled with smoke and my clothes smelled of petrol.
I loved all of it but thought that in 2017, there had to be a cleaner way to get around. Tesla showed that it’s possible to create a new kind of car. I felt it was a reasonable challenge to create a new kind of motorcycle—a two-wheeler that is not only electric, but also embraces all the wonders of technology and construction using materials that do as little harm to nature as possible.
“Transportation has become about moving from point A to B as efficiently as possible, but in that process, we have lost the joy of movement.”
After some initial research, I realized that the technology was advanced enough and people started to embrace alternative forms of sustainable transport. With two engineers, we started building the first prototypes. During the design and development process, we experimented with every kind of manufacturing method ranging from hand-shaping steel using traditional art deco coachbuilding techniques, to 3 printing with aerospace alloys. One our the core principles was to build the bike out of non-toxic materials and go against outdated industry standards.
14 months later, we unveiled the brand and the concept prototypes at Newlab in Brooklyn. After another 16 months, we unveiled our first street legal and manufacturable vehicle, the Tarform Luna.
2. How do you see Tarform impacting how we live our lives?
Our modern age is defined by comfort, on-demand culture, and infinite progress. Objects do things for us. Anything we can imagine is at our doorstep within a day. Our cars are driverless and our devices suggest who we should meet. Transportation has become about moving from point A to B as efficiently as possible, but in that process, we have lost the joy of movement.
Motorcycle riding is one of the most powerful human experiences. From technical innovation to art and design, it’s an act of rebellion and the search for self. We want to serve as a reminder of that experience—to provide a sense of awe and wonder.
3. How have New York and Newlab positively impacted the development of your business?
New York is a cultural epicenter with nationalities and talent from all over the world. This energy and spirit bring likeminded people together that have a desire to create and build things out of pure imagination and determination. Newlab is home to many of these people and we have been very fortunate to be part of a community that builds everything from rockets to bacteria.
4. Do you see it as your responsibility to make technology ethical and accessible to all?
Mobility is an integral part of modern civilization. We have developed modes of transportation that take us all over the world, but during that process, we created a by-product that is destructive to us and our environment. By 2050, the amount of plastic in our oceans will exceed the amount of fish. I believe it is the responsibility of every company that chooses to produce anything physical to build it in an ethical and responsible way. This means looking over the entire lifecycle of the product—how it is made, how it is used, and how it is discarded.
As a society, we have to change our mindset and our relationship with the products around us. To build things that can be replaced or recycled and to use materials that neither contributes to waste nor harms the environment.
Further reading: “A New Era of Motorcycles: How AI is Transforming the Rider Experience”
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