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Case Study: Cool...on demand

Feb. 16, 2021
How Fast Radius enabled the production of The Curtiss One luxury electric motorcycle.

By Brian Simms, Fast Radius vice president of sales & marketing

The Curtiss One, a luxury electric motorcycle, was made possible by Chicago-based manufacturer Fast Radius, which provided innovative production-and-fulfillment solutions that allowed Curtiss to bring their vision to the world. Let's take a look at the case study...

THE CHALLENGE: Producing a design-driven luxury electric motorcycle with the flexibility of on-demand manufacturing.

To deliver the Curtiss One, Curtiss needed more than a contract manufacturer to make parts—they needed a partner flexible enough to help them bring a new category to market and execute their uncompromising design vision.

When it was time to move the Curtiss One into production, Curtiss didn’t think twice about who would make their parts. Fast Radius had become Curtiss’ official and most trusted production partner after several successful projects, including a prototype with 60 SKUs that Fast Radius delivered in only 12 days.

With its $81,000 price tag, the Curtiss One appeals to an elite group of connoisseurs. Traditional mass production wouldn’t suffice. Instead, Curtiss needed an approach that could be easily scaled to meet demand. Fast Radius arranged flexible payment and delivery options that allowed Curtiss to achieve economies-of-scale without having to store or pay for more parts than they need at a given time.

The Curtiss One solidifies a long-term partnership between the two companies. Fast Radius currently provides 90% of the bill of materials (BOM) for the Curtiss One, including 160 CNC machined parts and a pump cover made with the Carbon DLS process.

“Fast Radius allows our company to seamlessly expand to new models and segments as the market for EV motorcycles grows,” said H. Matthew Chambers, CEO of Curtiss. “With Fast Radius, turning around new designs and prototypes is faster and less expensive than with any other manufacturer. We’re able to outmaneuver large companies and plan for our future without worrying about scaling. We can’t thank Fast Radius enough for their partnership. The quality of the work they’ve done for us is unbelievable.”

FACTORS THAT MADE IT POSSIBLE: On-demand production and a flexible long-term partnership.

Long-term production partnership: Fast Radius has a deep understanding of Curtiss’ business that goes beyond making all of Curtiss’ CNC and additive parts. Unlike a typical contract manufacturer, Fast Radius has visibility into the entire production process, making for a seamless ramp from concept to prototype to production, per the partners.

On-demand manufacturing: Curtiss orders parts from Fast Radius as needed, eliminating the logistics and expenses of warehousing. Fast Radius is able to provide the cost-efficiencies of large orders without forcing Curtiss to take delivery of all their parts at once. With Fast Radius, Curtiss can access flexible capacity to easily ramp up production as demand increases.

Rear footpegs for the new Curtiss-1 manufactured using CNC machining with Fast Radius.

Economic efficiency: Fast Radius stuck to Curtiss’ budget, leveraging relationships with trusted production partners to get extremely competitive prices—even on expensive post-processing and anodization. To keep fulfillment costs down, Fast Radius devised strategic shipping solutions and payment terms. Since this is an ongoing project, Curtiss gets Fast Radius’ annual discounts for long-term production.

Hands-on project management: No single factory could make all the parts for the Curtiss One, so Fast Radius coordinated production within their global network. Fast Radius handles all project management and quality operations, ensuring Curtiss receives parts made to spec and on schedule.

If issues arise—even with overseas suppliers—the Fast Radius project management team finds a solution, usually without having to involve Curtiss at all. On the front end, Fast Radius provides design for manufacturing (DFM) support, ensuring every part will be made correctly the first time.

THE RESULTS: A partnership that’s transforming the motorcycle industry, the the companies, which boast:

160 parts per bike

90% BOM made by Fast Radius

One-month order cycles