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One of the showpieces of Otago Polytechnic’s recent Engineering Technology Showcase, a prototype EV bike is best regarded as a vehicle to ongoing learning benefits.

The work included one team working out how to make the EV bike accelerate, while another team was tasked with solving the complicated issue of regenerative braking.

As one New Zealand Diploma of Engineering (Electrical) learner says: “We’ve had to come up with solutions that simply don’t exist in any textbooks. But we got there through problem-solving.”

Academic and technician William Early, who works across Otago Polytechnic’s EPICentre and the Research and Postgraduate Studies office, describes the EV Bike project as not one challenge, but a series of interconnected learning opportunities.

As such it has challenged the New Zealand Diploma of Engineering students (as well as Bachelor-level learners) to reach beyond existing research.

“Frankly, the depth of learning that has gone on is beyond the level of their programme. They have learned how to innovate in teams, how to research, how to problem-solve, how to fail and learn.

“In short, they have learnt how to learn heaps.

“I came up with the overall concept in 2019, and from there we build the shell of the bike.

“Yes, the physical shell of the bike serves to stir people’s imaginations, but the project involves a range of disciplines, including design, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.

“At one point, we had roughly 40 people, spread across 14 teams, involved in projects related to the bike. And despite them completing a range of challenges, there were some aspects that needed to be explored and developed further,” William explains.

“More recently, we have been working on a controller to run the electric motor. In fact, over the past year we’ve gone back to the drawing board and redesigned all of the componentry and circuits.”

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Published on 15 Dec 2021

Orderdate: 15 Dec 2021
Expiry: 15 Dec 2023