ASC Takes First Place in National BUV Competition

Five baccalaureate-level mechanical engineering technology seniors at Alfred State, under the guidance of their project advisers, Dr. Edward Tezak, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor, and Ray Gleason, instructional support technician, captured first place in the eighth annual national BUV (basic utility vehicle) competition held in Indianapolis. In previous years, the ASC team captured spots in the top 10, including seventh place in 2005, third place in 2006, and fifth place in 2007.

Dave Mapes, Nick VanDeWeert, Dave Winquist, Tim Beechler and Kyle ColbeyThe Alfred State team annually consists of seniors who are developing their vehicle as part of the fulfillment of their required Senior Design Capstone Project.  This year, the Alfred State entry was built by team leader Dave Mapes, Highland Mills; Nick VanDeWeert, Harpursville; Dave Winquist, Wilson; Tim Beechler, Holland; and Kyle Colbey, Utica.

A BUV is, according to the Institute for Affordable Transportation (IAT) which sponsors the competition, a vehicle for change.  "Its purpose is to help meet peoples' everyday needs at the ends of the earth.  BUVs will promote trade and reduce poverty at a grassroots level," notes Will Austin, director, IAT.  He indicated that Alfred State College had the largest margin of victory in the history of the event which dates back to 2001.

Students from six universities, including ASC, Purdue University, University of Cincinnati, John Brown University, Miami of Ohio University, Rose-Hulman University, and three independent competitors-Chelsea I & II, and the IAT Vehicle destined for West Africa competed in events that tested both vehicle and driver skills.  Top five final scoring ranged as follows:

  1. Alfred State College, 94.05 (out of 100)
  2. Purdue University, 70.8
  3. Miami of Ohio University, 48.2
  4. John Broun University; 43.18
  5. University of Cincinnati, 35.25  

From 2001 through 2007 the competition has involved 460 students and 105 BUV teams from 25 separate universities/colleges.  ASC achieved the highest winning score in eight years and the greatest margin of victory.

Simplicity is key: a BUV can be assembled almost anywhere, by almost anyone.  The equipment needed is also simple...even small repair shops have the tools to build a BUV.  Basic Utility Vehicles can carry 1,200-pounds of cargo. Using primarily off-the-shelf parts, the unassembled BUV skid pack will cost about $1,300 before duties and freight. They are designed for warm climates, slow speeds (up tor 20 mph), and rural, unpaved roads. BUVs provide mobility, freedom, and economic hope to people in rural areas of developing countries.

2008 Basic Utility VehicleOne major requirement this year was the design of the front end suspension system which was connected to the rear end of a light pick-up truck frame to form a three-wheel vehicle.  The other major requirement was to have the ability to convert the vehicle--in less than five minutes--from a 1,200 lb. cargo carrier to a school bus to be used in Africa.  The Alfred Team completed the transition in two-and-one-half minutes. After the competition Alfred State College donated the vehicle to the IAT and it is headed to a school district in the Congo.

Judges from Arvin-Meritor, Ford Motor Co., Delphi, and IAT decided the competition's outcome.  Projects were judged on endurance, acceleration, mud pit, hill climb, agility, obstacle, written report, bill of materials, oral presentation, specifications met, design objectives, and judges' drive.