Novus: The Luxury, Sustainably Made Vision of the Future
NOVUS, the brand that has revolutionised two-wheeled travel, has an undeniable edge over almost anything else in its sector. Describing itself as a 'lifestyle product on wheels', they have created an uncompromising design objective that breaks conventions and shows what an electric two wheeler can finally look like in 2021. We speak with the innovator himself, Founder & CEO of NOVUS René Renger on everything from the inspiration behind their design to its new-age digital evolution. Not only this, but the sustainable values that hold an esteemed position as an environmentally conscious product for a new generation.
Tell us about the vision of NOVUS, and the unique products position in the luxury industry?
With our first product NOVUS One, we want to show that modern, sustainable vehicles can simultaneously represent status, but also contemporary mobility. We want to initiate a rethinking towards more awareness in mobility and status behavior, without having to practice renunciation. We believe that modern lifestyle products do not have to weigh 2 tons and have 1000 horsepower. A NOVUS One on the other hand offers more attention and the same fun factor at a fraction of the resource expenditure.
What is the design process at NOVUS, and what are some of the design influences at play?
NOVUS One is nevertheless inspired by the simplicity of bicycle frames, as well as the timeless and user-oriented product design aesthetic. NOVUS One is designed according to the heuristic principle of parsimony. Of several sufficient possible design approaches for one and the same circumstance, the simplest design is always preferable to all others. This design canon runs through NOVUS from the brake adapter mount to the frame component. Only in this way can the overall design come to the fore. No chain, no transmission or gearshift. No urge to show off the individual elements, no jagged component landscape. Each technical element steps back in the sense of simplicity and integrates itself into the overall impression of the form - a modern sculpture on wheels.
The natural, organic shape of the bike is part of its appealing aesthetic, why was this so important?
The main frame, inspired by lightweight bicycles, deliberately dispenses with the central volume that has always been occupied by the combustion engine in conventional vehicles. The result is an inherently rigid and closed structure that at the same time unmistakably communicates the departure from the combustion engine.
Products must have an unmistakable recognition value. They must be able to express their innermost through their design. What kind of product is it and what does it stand for? What does its user stand for? I always say that you can recognize a NOVUS 300m against the light with a low sun and 3 diopters of vision as what it is. Only a NOVUS can do that
In what sense is NOVUS sustainably made?
NOVUS One is consistently trimmed for lightweight construction. It is up to 50kg lighter than other vehicles in the same category. This lightweight construction means that we have to move significantly less mass, have lower fuel consumption, and lower necessary power with the same driving pleasure. In addition, the NOVUS is designed to be so system-integrative that we can completely dispense with a large number of components. Our lightweight frame, for example, is the vehicle's load-bearing structure, protects all the electrical components inside and is also the design-generating outer skin.
New mobility alternatives are often seen as just an extension of existing ones. We want to change that and see our greatest potential here in terms of sustainability. We show the demanding but also environmentally conscious customers that there are now contemporary alternatives that are significantly more resource-efficient and at the same time communicate a positively proven sustainable lifestyle. NOVUS One has this charisma to communicate the positive aspects of the sustainable future to the customers. A future that we can live together with new technical solutions in harmony with nature and human needs.
Tell us about the smart and digital component of NOVUS, how does this appeal to a new generation of owners?
On a motorcycle, the handlebar is the central communication interface. We asked ourselves why conventional handlebars of motorcycles still seem like command centers of a big old machine instead of moving with the times and have a reduced, intuitive operation. Our design houses the main headlight, as well as a form-fitting integrated LED display to show all relevant riding information. Turn signals are positioned in the handlebar ends and control crosses replace conventional gauges.
There is the option of using one's own smartphone as a key for locking and unlocking via NFC (Near Field Communication). The smartphone can easily be placed on the integrated holder above the LED display. Now the driver can get all information displayed in high resolution with the NOVUS app. In addition, the app can be used to navigate, vary displays and make settings on the bike, or book additional features in the app. Of course, all ride data is collected and all statistics can be viewed after the ride.
If the smartphone is empty, the bike can be unlocked with the help of an NFC transmitter. After unlocking via the smartphone or the NFC transmitter, the rider can start the bike using the start/stop button, which is placed directly behind the handlebars. An LED ring shows the charge level before the ride begins and indicates the current ride mode through the matching color coding.
It was very important to us to make the control area as clear and unambiguous as possible. Whether with or without a smartphone, operation should be no more complicated than with a Streetscooter. Climb on. Drive. Not a complicated machine for people of yesterday. An intuitive product as part of people's digital livestyle.
NOVUS is more than a bike, it’s a visionary dream anchored by a commitment to precision and perfection. How is this ethos core to the brand’s philosophy, and how does this distinguish you within the luxury market?
I myself studied design and worked as a car designer for many years before I founded NOVUS. When I had the basic idea for NOVUS together with my fellow student Marcus in 2010, we originally didn't want to build a startup or business. We just wanted to build the coolest lightweight two-wheeler we could imagine. Every designer dreams of the future and tries to materialize it in his designs. With NOVUS we dare such an uncompromising approach as none of the traditional big motorcycle manufacturers would dare.
We are creating a new niche here, as such products have not existed before. We are not building a motorcycle with a lifestyle claim. We create lifestyle products, which have a motorcycle approval. Classic luxury brands, on the other hand, do not want to face this technical challenge. We exploit this gap. Our standards are nevertheless high. A limited NOVUS One can easily compete with the luxury sports cars of this world in terms of materiality, workmanship and attention to detail.
What is the future vision for NOVUS and what can consumers expect to see from you?
With NOVUS, we are building a modern and innovative premium brand that will be the manufacturer of high-tech design products in the field of two-wheel mobility and beyond. The market for electromobility is approaching the critical size, in order to completely replace the combustion engine and to secure the way to a future with as few emissions as possible. Congested inner cities and more and more passenger cars with high space requirements are forcing customers to resort more and more to new forms of mobility or alternative products. But these are now no longer just a means to an end, but, like our NOVUS, offer significant added value over conventional vehicles thanks to modern technologies and revolutionary design... With NOVUS, we want to be a pioneer in sustainable, private mobility and positively shape the perception of electric mobility.
"I myself studied design and worked as a car designer for many years before I founded NOVUS. When I had the basic idea for NOVUS together with my fellow student Marcus in 2010, we originally didn't want to build a startup or business. We just wanted to build the coolest lightweight two-wheeler we could imagine. Every designer dreams of the future and tries to materialize it in his designs."