NXT Motors: Looks like Tesla, but not like Musk
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NXT Motors: Looks like Tesla, but not like Musk

It sounds so inflated, so of the air castles, but NXT Motors from Heerenveen definitely has something akin to a Tesla variant
among motorcycles. Quirky design, electric drive, pioneering, high kick factor and a special entrepreneur in
the person of Harm Besseling.

But at the same time, Besseling is very much not like Tesla's Elon Musk. Because Besseling hates to build up a nice and good selling image on the cheap. I don't like it when parties borrow millions of euros, promise all kinds of things and then fail to deliver,' says the director-owner of NXT Motors, who is referring to a party other than Tesla. 'We do it all the old-fashioned way. First a product, make money with that and from that money scale up and pay for new models.'

'Some sales pitches are almost a form of lying'

There's not a word of Chinese in there. Harm Besseling is convinced of his entrepreneurial vision. "A lot of sales pitches from startups are almost a form of lying. He doesn't want that. No empty marketing beforehand, but working the market only when the products prove themselves. That, and no other way, is how NXT Motors should conquer the world. Clarity above all else. The answer to the question of whether Besseling is a motorcycle enthusiast, a technician with an excessive interest in electric propulsion, or an entrepreneur fits the bill: "Entrepreneur is the latter. Since childhood I have been interested in everything on wheels.'

He explains: "We have transportation companies in the family. And so in my defense days, I was the vehicle specialist within our unit. I was in a reconnaissance unit. What such a unit does in peacetime? I've been in Afghanistan, we had to go deep into enemy territory there. And in peacetime you prepare for a deployment.'

NXT Motors: Looks like Tesla, but not like Musk

Motorcycle world lags behind that of cars

So, in a few sentences we already know a lot about Harm Besseling. Straight to the point. By the way, he does not consider himself groundbreaking, because everything is related to the motorcycle world, which simply lags behind that of cars. He points out that more than 20 years ago the first "hybrid" car was launched, the Toyota Prius. And it is regulations (noise, CO2 emissions) that drive a series of innovations, Besseling argues.

NXT Motors is on the eve of the production of its first model. In recent years work has been done on the design, engineering and perfecting the modular design that ensures that the number of operations in production has been significantly reduced - fewer hands make it cheaper - but also that four models can soon be made relatively easily. The result: a sleek engine that competes in price with the top of the mid-range segment (between 20,000 and 30,000 euros).

'Different, because we started blank'

For that matter, there are already some electric motorcycles, but they are functional and do not appeal to the motorcycle enthusiast, Besseling knows: "There are often fiscal reasons to take such a motor. NXT Motors delivers electric motorcycles with unique features: 70 percent fewer parts, 30 percent less weight, monocoque design (the load-bearing structure is not the frame but the 'shell,' like an egg) and premium materials. Besseling: "We are actually very cheap, because if you see what we put in, the motor should cost as much as 50,000 euros.

Besseling effortlessly lists the peculiarities of the NXT Engine. 'We were able to do it very differently because we started blank,' he explains. 'With us there was no ambition to produce a traditional engine cost-efficiently. We don't have a pre-existing situation like a big manufacturer. And so you start doing it all differently instead of adapting the existing.'

NXT Motors: Looks like Tesla, but not like Musk

'You either love this bike or you don't'

But one thing was paramount when Besseling was behind the drawing board: the motorcycle enthusiast must get on the electric motorcycle. Besseling: 'Some want noise but that is also partly herd behavior. We were at the motorcycle fair and there we saw that many people with their own opinions were interested. It's a different type of motorcyclist. More educated, a bit of the Tesla driver, progressive. You shouldn't be stuck in the past with this bike. You either love this bike or you don't. Is fine. There are plenty who love it.'

Besseling took its time funding NXT Motors. Flinc, part of NOM, helped sharpen the plans and made contact with investors. 'That is now well arranged from a good cooperation,' he believes. ,,My ambition is to borrow as little money as possible. I want to keep control of the company myself. We can now quietly grow with the demand and we don't have a company with a water head. Nor am I going to do crazy things with pre-orders and so on.'

NXT Motors: Looks like Tesla, but not like Musk

Making money instead of borrowing

NXT Motors works with modules, allowing new models to be quickly produced from a series of basic elements. 'We also want to launch a second type on the market soon. One for a popular and large segment.' After all, money has to be earned - rather than borrowed.

Bjorn Redmeijer, project manager Flinc:

'From Flinc we supported NXT Motors intensively in drawing up the plans and then connected them to our funding network. With the capital raised from this funding round, production should be started and first sales realized. Entrepreneur Harm Besseling has a military and technical background, this experience comes in handy when starting production. From the Flinc network we were able to attract an 'informal' that adds not only capital, but also knowledge, experience and network. Especially with regard to building a brand, marketing and sales. Together with the capital injection from the FOM, I believe all the ingredients are present to realize the ambitious plans.

Sybo Zijlstra, Investment Manager FOM:

'Harm Besseling is a driven entrepreneur, he knows what he's doing and he always pulls it off. Moreover, he is down-to-earth and realistic. We have already financed NXT Motors once at the beginning of 2019 and again last year, when it was more difficult to find an investor because of the corona issues. For FOM as a Frisian investor, a company like NXT Motors is a great example of support for a development from Friesland.'

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