May 23, 2019

Students accelerate electric vehicle technology

mechanical engineering moped

Every engineering student works on a big hands-on project before graduation. The project typically solves an industry problem, creates an innovative tool for researchers or develops an entrepreneurial idea. Sometimes different teams keep perfecting an idea over the course of years. 

One example is an engineering team that is improving an electric moped. They are pushing forward technology that was imagined and started by another team a few years ago. The original idea was to design, fabricate and assemble a scooter that could travel faster than 40 miles per hour and accelerate as well as a gas-powered model. Many of the top current electric mopeds have a top speed around 30 miles per hour. Creating a high-performance electric alternative to gas-powered machines could have a substantially positive environmental impact. 

The current group is improving handling and stability of the previous scooter by making design changes to the frame, suspension and motor. They’ll also add safety features, improve some of the electronic components and install a heating and cooling system.

“This experience has improved my real-world work ethic and has given me a taste of what it will be like to be a mechanical engineer,” said senior Zachery Hettwer. “It allows me to take all the theoretical information I’ve learned in class and use it to create something from beginning to end that I can be proud of and have fun doing it.”

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