Design of the Week: Zeus V8 Electric Motorcycle
This week’s selection is the radical Zeus V8 Electric Motorcycle by Curtiss Motorcycles.
This highly unusual motorcycle design was created by the inventive folks at Curtiss Motorcycle Co., and built by Chicago-based manufacturing service Fast Radius.
The build for this vehicle used a combination of traditional and advanced manufacturing techniques, including 3D printing. Fast Radius says they produced “more than 60 parts and components” for the unusual bike.
The Zeus was unveiled last month at the Quail Motorsports Gathering in California, and is now set for production. Fast Radius and Curtiss are now in the process of building the first 100 units using their manufacturing and design capabilities.
Brian Simms, VP of Sales at Fast Radius, said:
“Our partnership with Curtiss is ideal because it allows them to do what they do best—designing stunning motorcycles—while we do what we do best—matching the project with the right technology and getting quality parts made quickly. We’re looking forward to innovating with Curtiss as they grow their brand.”
This is an excellent point to make: design is most definitely not the same as manufacturing. If you’re good at one of those disciplines, you’re likely not so good at the other. Thus, manufacturing and design partnerships are a really good thing for both parties.
The Zeus is an impressive bike, having 217HP and a 16.8KWh / 400V battery. Most of the frame is made from aluminum, and the entire motorcycle is priced at US$75K.
You might be wondering how this bike could be called the “Zeus V8” and yet be an electric vehicle. “V8” refers to the number of cylinders in a gasoline-powered engine, and no such thing exists in an electric motorcycle.
Instead, the ingenious designers at Curtiss Motorcycles decided to shape the bike’s battery into cylinders that resemble the ancient V8 appearance. It’s a curious mix of old and new, but there’s no gasoline required; just a plug in is needed.
Their design inspiration is actually quite interesting. Here’s an image of company founder Glenn H. Curtiss riding a gasoline-powered V8 motorcycle in a record-setting race in 1907, over one hundred years ago. You can definitely see the resemblance of the Zeus to the 1907 version.
As industry develops more and more electric vehicles, we’re likely to see additional highly unusual designs such as the Zeus V8, simply because 3D printing technology can now be easily used on such projects. It’s as simple as working with a competent service such as Fast Radius, and any large or small design shop could do so, regardless of experience with 3D printing.
What’s next? We’re told that Curtiss and Fast Radius are already developing plans for additional radical bike designs named “Hades, Psyche, and Eros”. One can only imagine what they might look like.