Curbell Plastics Donation Helps Engineering and Design Students Build Electric Motorcycle

Rochester Institute of Technology Students Gain Valuable Hands-On Experience Building and Racing Electric Vehicles

Media Requests

Beth Summers
Curbell Plastics, Inc.
716-667-3377 x7439

Orchard Park, NY, July 27, 2016 – Orchard Park-based Curbell Plastics, Inc., one of the nation’s premier suppliers of plastic sheet, rod, tube, film, adhesives, sealants, and prototyping materials, sponsored the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Electric Vehicle Team through a donation of materials from its Rochester, NY location. The material helped students build and test components for the electric motorcycle that raced against other student and professional teams at New Jersey Motorsports Park earlier this month.

The student-built electric motorcycle is built on a Kawasaki Ninja Sport bike frame and has a motor and batteries in place of the engine. While it looks like a typical motorcycle, it has stronger torque to enable faster acceleration while being much quieter than a traditional motorcycle. The RIT Electric Vehicle Team, which includes approximately 60 students, tested and enhanced the motorcycle for premium performance in preparation for competing at this summer’s eMotoRacing Varsity Challenge on the 2.25 mile, 12 turn, Thunderbolt road circuit at New Jersey Motorsports Park. The team, one of only two collegiate teams competing, came in fourth place, performing very well against a series of professionally sponsored teams on commercially produced ebikes. The team also competed in 2015 and was the only student team to successfully complete the race. eMotoRacing is the premier zero-emissions motorcycle road race series in the U.S.

RIT student-built electric motorcycle
RIT student-built electric motorcycle


Curbell donated 5 sheets of TUFFAK® General Purpose polycarbonate material for shielding on the group’s simulation platform used to test components of the motorcycle. The simulation platform allows the students to test components before assembling on the bike. It has the added advantage of allowing students to work inside throughout the school year when outside weather conditions may not be optimum.

According to Ben Kraines, a computer engineering student at RIT and leader of the Electric Vehicle Team, “Besides the “cool” factor of working on these types of vehicles, students are gaining tremendous hands-on experience in engineering and industrial design. As the electric vehicle industry grows, many employers are looking for the kinds of skills we are able to acquire while working on this project. Many students see this team as a critical resume builder. At the same time, we have limited budgets to continually refine and test our ideas so donations from companies like Curbell really have an impact.”

Curbell Plastics, Inc. strategy of investing for the long term and focusing on customer needs has led the organization to grow from a small machine shop to one of the nation’s leading suppliers of plastic materials serving commercial and industrial customers since 1942. Curbell not only supplies plastic materials in nearly every form for thousands of commercial businesses, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies but also provides innovative services, creative problem solving, and next-day delivery. Curbell Plastics has ISO 9001 certification for nine of their locations and corporate headquarters as well as ITAR and EAR compliance. A subsidiary of Curbell, Inc., Curbell Plastics is a privately held company with a 74-year history headquartered in Orchard Park, New York.