Electric motorcycles have been around for a while, but to be honest, most look like dirt bikes as style takes a backseat to fit and function. Alexander Steegh thought he could do better. That’s why he invented the Orphiro, an electric cruiser that would make Steve McQueen proud. The Orphiro plays clear homage to legendary chopper designs like Harley, in a ride that’s both comfortable and sustainable.
Steegh, from the Netherlands, packed his motorcycle with award-winning innovation and power. But he didn’t do it alone. He enlisted a team of a dozen people including freelance industrial designer Nout van Heumen. Together, they brought the Orphiro from idea to market in just 18 months.
“The first concept design was based on paper sketches from Jansen Creative Design,” says Nout. “With Creo Parametric and the Creo Interactive Surfacing Design Extension, I quickly started creating the complex shell of the bike. The smooth continuous body shape is created as one body using advanced surface options, and then I part and sectioned it to produce the different manufacturable parts. The body is weatherproof and easy to disassemble too.”
Working just one day a week on the project over the past 2 months, Nout says the bike got to market so quickly because his design software eliminated the need for many prototypes. “By using Creo Parametric’s digital manikin [an adjustable human form for checking how humans fit with a model], I could precisely design and position the handlebar, saddle, display, and foot supports for our target buyers. And at every stage, I could check the 3D design for part interference, even for moving mechanisms, again avoiding physical prototypes.”
Not only was the whole Orphiro modeled in Creo Parametric, but the production molds for the body shell were also created in Creo.
Launched in September 2011, the Orphiro is a wide body cruiser completely designed and built from the ground up, including drive train, frame, and bodywork. The current version has a top speed of 120 km/h, thanks to 72 volts of power provided by its Li-ion batteries.
And as you might expect from the first-ever cool-looking electric motorcycle, the awards have already started pouring in, including the Accenture’s Innovation Award 2011, in the Energy category.
Images courtesy of Orphiro.