Human Powered Utility Vehicle

Votes: 3
Views: 4446

The University of Louisville ASME Chapter is designing a fully enclosed, 3-wheel, recumbent utility bike. The design includes provision for over 13 cubic feet of storage capacity by employing two side pods and a rear cargo area. The amount of cargo space allows for the hauling of a full load of grocieries, which was the intent of the design. The entirely carbon fiber construction of unidirectional tubes and integral 00, ± 600 panels makes the frame lightweight and durable, weighing only 16lbs. The full enclosure allows for riding in inclement weather conditions. A stepper motor tied to the drivechain charges a 100 Farad capacitor, which will in turn power an LED lighting system that powers headlights and tail- and brake lights, making this vehicle safe to ride day and night, and highly visible to motorists. The three wheel design makes the vehicle stable for uneven cargo loading, entrance and exit, and easy of riding. Three wheel disc brakes allow for maneuverability and stopping power. In addition, the two front brakes function as a parking brake through a simple application of a clip in the rider cockpit. The clip will hold the brake handle in the braked position to keep the vehicle from rolling off while trying to embark or disembark, or load cargo. A five-point, quick-release harness protects the rider in the event of an accident or roll-over situation. A NuVinci continuously variable planetary gear provide the gear range of an 18-speed bike, without all the mechanical interfacing that wears chains and caused chain slippage. The drive chain is isolated from the recumbent rider area and rear cargo bay by a chain tunnel, which also functions as a spine for the body. The rear cargo area also has the option to place a small engine for motorized power. This design allows for a 3.5 hp lawnmower engine to be mounted and linked to the drivetrain. The pedals in the front will be disconnected, and engine interfacing will be added to the cockpit. A typical recumbent bike, with a central spar and 3 wheel design will cost, at a minimum, $ 900 USD. Our design, with all the feature applied, cost $ 5,000 USD to build. Think of everything gained, though. Rider safety and security, comfort, year-round, 24 hour useability , less weight than a child’s tricycle, and cargo capacity and functionality; almost a full motorized vehicle experience in a three-wheeler!


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  • Name:
    Shawn Maurer
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Shawn Maurer Darren Turner Jeff Alstott
  • Software used for this entry:
    SolidWorks, ANSYS
  • Patent status: