We sent a couple of questions to a truly bright engineer and designer from Tenerife ( Canary Island ). We are very glad to bring to you the story of Pablo de Chaves journey through designs and shapes of electric vehicles!
I’m Pablo de Chaves. I was born in Tenerife (Canary Islands) and I am currently living in Barcelona.
Since I was a child I have been passionate about motorcycles and anything with two wheels, whether it had a motor or not. I guess I enjoy the instability and the feeling of freedom that they give.
I have always had the need to understand how things work and also the necessity to draw and create new things. So after I finished the school I went to Madrid to study mechanical engineering. By then I already knew I wanted to work designing motorcycles. I liked them so much that I read for pleasure books like the “Motorcycle Handling and Chassis Design” by Tony Foale and I spent the weekends of the last year of my degree doing a Motorcycle Mechanic Training Program. I wanted to understand motorcycles from all the possible points of view. Of course, I also rode a motorcycle. With 19 years “I stole” from my brother his Honda VFR 750 (the 1991 model) and never gave it back to him. After that, I had the KTM Duke 690.
But I have never had a pure engineer profile. Unlike my colleagues, I was very interested in graphics and industrial design. I was attracted to forms or shapes as much as function. So when I finished my degree I went to do a master’s degree in Automotive Design in Barcelona. There the important thing was the styling. And apart from the theory behind the design, I learned to use software that later came to me very well as the Autodesk ALIAS (3D surface modeling), Photoshop, etc. apart from enhancing my freehand drawing.
At the end of the master, I got the opportunity to do an internship at the SEAT in the interior design department. But that was not for me. In large companies, everything is too specialized. There is a person who draws/designs, another who makes the 3D modeling, another who makes the clay model and in other completely separate departments there are the engineering and prototyping. I wanted to do all that at the same time or at least try it. So I learned what I was able to learn and I left.
After that, I wanted to learn English so I decided to go to Ireland. I even had the air ticket bought when a former friend of the master called me to say “Pablo, do you want to come to Madrid to design a motorcycle with an alternative suspension system?” My answer was: yes, I want! In two weeks I was in Madrid (instead of Dublin) working curiously in an architecture studio where the owner wanted to design a BMW with a front suspension system that he had patented. Maybe that was the time where I learned the most. At last, the theory gave way to practice. The result of that project was the BMW D1200R.
But the project was over and I had to look for the next step. I leave my cv in various Spanish motorcycle factories like Yamaha Spain, Derbi, Motorhispania, Metrakit … None of those hired me. But I have to say that they were all about to close their doors. They were companies that lived by selling 50cc motorcycles and were no longer popular bikes. Then I tried some engineering studios that worked for motorcycle companies but nothing….
At that time I had a friend who was working for a design studio in Turin that put his workers in the design centers of companies such as Fiat, Alfa Romeo, AUDI, Lamborghini … He told me they were looking for CAD designers and modelers and he encouraged me to join. So I moved to Italy. I spent two weeks of trial working in their Turin offices and then they proposed me to enter Lamborghini. And my answer was: Hell, yes! I moved to Nonantola, a town that is next to the Lamborghini factory and I started working with them as a designer. It was an incredible experience and I could design pieces for the Murciélago SV or the Gallardo but on a personal level I was not going through my best time… Moreover I wanted to design motorcycles and work as an engineer and designer. So I went to Ducati and also to Moto Morini, that was very close, to leave my cv. Moto Morini contacted me and we had some meetings but they were also economically in a bad situation and they couldn’t hire me. Sometime after that, they closed the doors… I started to consider returning to Spain.
And then my father sent me a picture of a Spanish newspaper where it said: “Registration for the Fernando Alonso Scholarship is open”. The scholarship was for doing an MSc in motorsport engineering in Oxford and a part of that they gave you 36,000 €! I sent all the documentation they asked and they pre-selected me. I went to the final phase to Madrid where they interviewed us personally and … I was awarded the scholarship (together with another 9 people)! So this time I packed my bags and move to England.
That year in England I had a really good time and I learned a lot about chassis design and dynamics. The master was focused on cars but many things could be extrapolated to motorcycles. At the end of the year, some mates went to work in F1 teams but I was clear that I did not want to live in England…
So after 11 years living abroad, I went back to the Canary Islands to see what I wanted to do with my life. In 2010 I started to get interested in electric vehicles. With the TTXGP of the Isle of Man, I saw what could be done. Those were real bikes! So I began to read about electric powertrains and while looking for work, I started to design an electric motorcycle on my own. And here it arrived my stroke of luck. Just at the same time, a Canarian businessman wanted to set up a small electric motorcycle factory there. The project was crazy because of the logistical difficulty and lack of industry of the Canary Islands but … I was hired and we started. Finally, I could design and engineer a motorcycle.
Tohqi Elipse ( Tohqi ML ) electric scooter
I spent 4 fantastic years where we managed to develop a prototype (Tohqi Elipse), and take a scooter to the market ( Tohqi ML) but the money was over and that also ended that period.
The project of the DCH1 was developed parallel to my work in Tohqi and in my spare time.
Famouse DCH1 concept
The concept was changed several times but I managed to finish it at the end of 2013. And this time apart from the design and the engineering I also welded the chassis and made the wiring. I spent a lot of money and I recovered very little when I sold it, but it was a great learning experience.
I spent 2014 making freelancer projects from Tenerife but in 2015, the topic of electric motorcycles was starting to be very fashionable in Spain and especially in Barcelona. Electric motorcycle brands such as Torrot, Volta, Scutum or Bultaco were appearing. And because I wanted to stay connected to this industry I moved to Barcelona and I began to work for Torrot, first from an external engineering and then within the company itself, designing the Torrot Kids12 and the MUVI. And at the end of 2016, I started working for Bultaco where I am currently.
Torrot Kids12 electric bike
MUVI electric scooter
Parallel to my work for other companies I have always been doing projects on my own like the DCH1 or some bicycle lights designs.
And since one year and a half I have been involved in the design of electric scooters because for me it is the ideal method of transport for the modern cities. And I’m sure each time more and more people will use them. Also, the size and complexity of an electric kick scooter are small enough so only one designer/engineer can do a very good job.
At this moment I’m working on two models in parallel. I’ve already finished one (the Black Sand). And the second, which is the one I hope to put on sale before, I’ll have it ready in a short time. For now, I can say that it will be something very elegant and very exclusive … The first electric titanium kickscooter in history.
TITANIUM electric kickscooter
The Black sand electric kickscooter
If someone reading this wants to enter as an investor or has experience as a distributor please let me know.
So this is more or less my professional life so far. I am 36 so I hope to continue developing more interesting projects for a long time!
Pablo de Chaves latest Sexy tilting 3 wheel electric car
My latest commissioned Project. The #MilleMiglia, a tilting 3 wheeler electric vehicle. The objective was to create a unique vehicle that offers the stability and safety benefits of 3 wheels with the handling of a motorcycle. From an aesthetic point of view I have tried to create a bridge between the past (the race cars of the 1930’s) and the future.
Prototype now under development by Carles de Vera. The power train will come from a Zero Motorcycle. The suspension/steering system probably from the TreMoto company.
Regarding the question of who inspires me: The pioneers and the creative people. From the Wright brothers to people like John Britten or Michael Czysz for putting two examples from the motorcycle world or Andrew Ritchie (The Brompton bicycle designer). People capable of taking their ideas to reality regardless of the resources they have. And I’m also inspired by a lot of people around the world who are doing very interesting DIY projects in their garages
We could dedicate the whole EvNerds site to developments of Pablo. So much incredible creativity in his work and different views in designing these vehicles. He does not choose only one type, one style. His exploration of forms and visual details is endless. If you wish to contact Pablo, you may do so here