Charged up: Electric vehicle engineering project at UWO-Fox Cities
Kings at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Fox Cities student, Francisco Isaac Solares Hertewing, has been involved in an exciting mechanical engineering project focusing on the building and development of electric ‘basic utility vehicles’.
Since 2018, students on the Fox Cities campus of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh have been designing, building, adjusting and improving an electric basic utility vehicle, or BUV. It’s an always-evolving project giving those involved opportunities to work on a wide variety of skills, including engineering and technology.
The project is steered by Warren Vaz, an assistant engineering professor in his fifth year at the Fox Cities campus. It’s an idea he brought with him from his days as a doctoral student about a decade ago at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.
He took the framework of a project undergraduate students were working on there and retooled it for UW Oshkosh students. “I thought this would be a great project to help our students learn about vehicles, learn about clean energy, get some skills in machining, design,” Vaz said. “Then of course get some experience working together as a group, testing their project and then presenting it ultimately.”
Vaz said since it began in 2018 maybe a dozen or so students have had a hand in the project, including some from the Oshkosh campus, UW-Platteville and elsewhere.
Kings student, Francisco Isaac Solares Hertewing, is a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Mexico City, Mexico. He’s had fun with the project this semester because of his love for hands-on learning. “I just love everything: touching, wiring, designing,” he said. “All of that is super cool.”
Duties Francisco has been involved with in recent weeks include programming a laptop that will someday be mounted for the BUV driver to see. The screen will feed information to the driver, including speed, remaining battery power and the outside temperature. He’s also helped with a set of solar panels that will be stored under the bed, then taken out when the vehicle is at a worksite and used to add extra juice to the battery.
The BUV project gives students a variety of ways to work on their engineering and tech skills.