A passion for motorcycles led Dustin Roderigues ’17 to build the Tachyon, a prototype electric motorcycle that also generates interest among traditional gas-powered bike enthusiasts.
The Tachyon: "Most Unique"
The Tachyon took “Most Unique” award honors at the 2017 Springfield Motorcycle Show, which drew attendees from across New England and showcased industry celebrities such as Paul Teutul Jr. of the “American Chopper” television series.
"The Tachyon is a different kind of bike, so I was curious about how it would be received by a crowd of gas-powered motorcycle enthusiasts," said Dustin.
"I was blown away by the positive response I received from show attendees. The award is a major validation that there is enthusiasm for electric motorcycles in traditional bike culture."
Becoming an entrepreneur
The mechanical engineering major is also an entrepreneur. Dustin’s company, Tachyon Electrics, is based at UMass Dartmouth’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). The center provides access to specialized design and facilities while Dustin accelerates prototyping and product development.
He is serving an apprenticeship in the machine shop at the CIE and has been accepted into the highly selective Entrepreneurship for All (E for All) accelerator program. The intensive program is helping him refine his business plan through a structured curriculum and mentorship by members of the local business community. He was awarded $500 from E for All in 2016, and $2,500 in 2017.
With his most recent award, Dustin is working with students at Diman Vocational High School in Fall River, to have them bend the tubing for his production frame.
"Once the pieces I need are bent, I can do final assembly at the CIE and get the Tachyon on the road," he said. "I plan to have the production prototype done by June, in enough time to go show it off at Laconia Bike Week in New Hampshire."
Building a bike & a brand
"One of the early challenges I faced was that my idea of building a well-performing electric motorcycle at a reasonable price wasn't believable to people," Dustin said.
"Once I could show people a functioning bike, the business aspects of Tachyon Electrics began to kick into gear."
One of the Tachyon’s features is programmable motor noise—a way for customers to add a unique touch to their bikes and to quell safety concerns; without it, the bike would be very quiet.
Dustin said that at the Springfield show, “Some people would walk past, but revving the motor noise on the Tachyon definitely got people to turn around and give it a second look. The features I’m including are the things that even a traditional biker would want.”
The goal for Tachyon Electrics is to develop open-source, all-electric vehicles for the masses.
"Everyone needs transportation," said Dustin, "and Tachyon Electrics will provide inexpensive and clean options for anyone on a budget."