Hear about designer, Jason Pohl's experience designing this one of a kind electric bike.
Tarform: A new breed of electric motorcycles
In 2016, Tarform was officially created by founders Jean-Christian (JC) Jung, and Taras Kravtchouk to make electric motorcycles that don’t just perform well, but look super cool too. Even if you’ve not been paying attention, you’ve probably noticed that you can tell an electric vehicle just by looking at them, they’ve adopted their own design language, which makes sense on some levels, and is a bit strange when you step back and really think about it. Tarform’s story starts well before 2016 though, and to fully understand why this company is worth paying attention to, and why we all love their first bike here at Fusion 360!
Taras, who originally hails from Sweden has a background in industrial design, and ran his own design studio in Stockholm for a number of years. If you don’t know much about Scandinavian design, all we can say is, this is a very good reason to get excited on its own. So how does one go from industrial design over to automotive design and engineering? Taras tells me when he moved to NYC over a decade ago, he started to work on vintage bikes, taking apart classic Yamahas, tinkering with them, and reassembling. Enamored by all the oily metals, which lay in stark contrast with the clean shiny world of his desk and CAD. Jump ahead a few years and after opening a maker space in Brooklyn, with a goal of teaching designers how to make the things they shape, the idea for a whole new bike came.
How do you fuse the beauty of hand built motorcycles, with the new electric drive train technologies available to us today? When Taras started down his path, he wanted to do for motorcycles, what Tesla had done for cars.
So began the inception of Tarform. Assembling a small team, they spent 2 years building their first 2 concept bikes, before adding a handful of engineers (always handy) and started to get that hype train a rolling, next thing you know suppliers are reaching out to Tarform and not the other way around!
Dang ok so that was quite the long introduction, but it’s worth it. Just like a finely tuned motorcycle, good things take time. See what I did there?
When it came to the creation of the Tarform bike, Taras and JC tell me they picked Fusion 360 without even knowing that generative design existed, but more on that later. Like every startup, set up costs tend to dictate a lot of the early decisions, and a price point of $0.00 for startups using Fusion 360 is a bit hard to beat, and so the journey into Fusion 360 as their main tool began!
Very soon after getting on with Fusion 360, Tarform became aware of Hackrod, one of our earlier collaborations here at Autodesk in the world of vehicle design with generative design. They instantly recognized the application need for their motorcycle, in particular when tied with additive manufacturing for more flexible and on-demand manufacturing opportunities. However it wasn’t all smooth sailing, when they first started out, while the tech was very exciting, they couldn’t find a compelling enough use case, but that’s how design goes right? That’s why we call it a process, not a procedure.
Back to the drawing board, Tarform took the time to focus in on the technology a bit more, and assess how to maximize it’s application. After all, we’re talking about an electric drivetrain, so saving every gram is critical, but not for the reasons you’d think. Most electric vehicles these days have comparable ranges to their petrol powered counter-parts, and yet, if you’ve ever bought a vehicle, how often is range a priority when you were buying? Nowadays with electric vehicles, customers have a somewhat unfounded anxiety toward the range of an electric vehicle, and so all manufacturers make every effort to push those batteries to their absolute limits!
With all that in mind, Tarform eventually found their sweet spot, with a component that had an unusually high cost. Any off the shelf part with a high cost is typically a great contender for an additively manufactured alternative, generative design also makes perfect sense here, as additive costs are volumetric only. This means that the number of units is irrelevant, but rather how much material per unit is being used, and in case you didn’t know already, Generative Design only includes the material that is essential, anything superfluous is cut!
On top of all this, Tarform wanted to show that additive manufacturing isn’t just for prototyping anymore. Of course, we all know this today, but in 2016 when this all started, our attitudes towards the tech was still very much as a prototyping tool, how quickly that has changed!
Tarform is approaching the creation of their bike in a truly unique way, bringing together the best parts of hand building, and electric drive trains, and to quote Taras “we’re building a new vehicle, why don’t we use new technologies too?”
I couldn’t put it better myself Taras. The Taras road bike launches this week, you can find more info here https://tarform.com/
Interested in test driving Fusion 360 yourself? Try it out now.