UMass Dartmouth senior builds electric motorcycle

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By Scott Lariviere, Staff Writer

In a mobile community, there are many ways people can get around. To travel, people have the option to drive a car, truck, or bike.

Dustin Roderigues, a senior mechanical engineer major of UMass Dartmouth, has designed and built his own electric motorcycle. He is an intern at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE).

Roderigues started to design his electric motorcycle two years ago.

He bought the battery and other components and started wiring it all together, since they come disassembled.

However, when he finished putting it together, he wasn’t satisfied with it at first.

So, he attended a start-up weekend, which was hosted by the CIE. His idea was not selected, but he worked out a deal where he would intern with them part-time and he would also have time to work on his business.

Since then, Roderigues has worked on a design for the enhancement of the bike.

The electric motorcycle has a charger for it, but the next generation will have a plug so it can be charged in a regular household socket.

His electric motorcycle can reach up to 70 miles per hour, and can run for thirty miles until it needs to be charged up. He commutes with it to school and work. He says it takes about two and a half hours for it to charge.

Roderigues is designing it so that if you have a level two charger, you can use one of those for the bike. He plans to mass produce it within the next year so that the bike will be ready for sale a year from now.

He hopes to build three alpha prototypes with grants he is applying for. “I applied for a grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and if I get my grant amount I’ll have enough to build three alpha-prototypes.”

The three alpha-prototypes will be different. The main idea behind his company is to create a modular system. He wants the bike to be modifiable for the user’s needs.

“There’s kit cars out there, where people can put together their own cars,” Roderigues says. “I want a kit-motorcycle, where you can mix and match, choose different parts you want, and build your own bike to your own needs.”

Roderigues has one thing left he needs to design for his electric motorcycle. That is a dashboard.

As of right now, he is using his phone as a tachometer, but he wants to design something that tells the driver how many AMPs being used, how much power voltage, battery amount, and speed all in one. He plans to code it to be open source so that way it can be changed.

He is in the process of getting a patent for his sound device system on the bike. The device is adjustable so that the driver can make it sound how they choose.

The current sound of his motorcycle he uses is called “Mother Ship” and is copy-right free. One day, he looked up a forum that helped him get started on his ideas for the design.

His motor noise system is what he hopes to attract motorcycle enthusiasts who like the rumble of a bike such as a Harley-Davidson.

The estimated cost for the electric motorcycle’s base model is $7,000. There will also be souped-up models.

“There’s going to be souped-up, super-charged models that could cost anywhere from $10,000-12,000.” In the future, Roderigues plans to have lower costing motorcycles.

“Looking down the line, if we can mass produce these, I will be looking at making cheaper and cheaper versions,” he says. Roderigues hopes to have his electric motorcycles for sale by next November.

Photo Courtesy: Scott Lariviere

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