UMass Dartmouth mechanical engineering major Dustin Roderigues ’17, of Westport, Massachusetts, spent winter break of his sophomore year in his garage designing and building an electric vehicle. Now an intern at the University’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE), in Fall River, Dustin is gaining real world experience in manufacturing and machining while utilizing the Center’s equipment and resources to upgrade his motorcycle design. He intends to launch an open source electric vehicle company with the design.
“I have always been fascinated with the idea of creating something that you can get up and move on,” Dustin said. “At the CIE’s prototyping shop, I’m gaining a wider experience and knowledge base regarding manufacturing and have become even more determined to put a professional touch on my motorcycle and grow a business around it.”
The engineering student is striving to create an accessible and affordable electric vehicle design. Interning at the CIE’s prototype shop allows Dustin to fine tune the motor and battery pack he created more than a year ago in a garage. He has also utilized the 3D printing resources that can be found at UMass Dartmouth’s IDEAStudio. In addition, to improve the safety for riders of his electric motorcycle, Dustin is building in an audio attachment that will simulate the sounds of a gas powered motorcycle.
Dustin became aware of the CIE while attending a Startup Weekend held last winter. Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, Startup Weekends are 54-hour, weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if their startup ideas are viable. The University will once again host a Startup Weekend April 22-24.
Dustin's motorcycle can go 38 miles on a charge and takes two and a half hours to recharge. The top speed was 75mph, single gear.
UMass Dartmouth’s CIE relaunched in October to expand its outreach to southeastern Massachusetts entrepreneurs, including those among the faculty and students at UMass Dartmouth. Over the next three years, the CIE expects to incubate 25 companies on-site and another 30 off-site. The CIE wants to graduate 10 companies, create and sustain 150 high wage jobs, and generate $24 million of economic activity for the region.