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Transportation of the Right Now


BugE Battery Electric Vehicle


Most commuters in urban areas drive to work a distance of less than 15 miles, one-way. Most of these are single passengers in vehicles designed to carry up to 5 passengers. If a vehicle was available that was sufficiently comfortable but used much less energy and if people would adopt such a vehicle, the environmental impact of commuters could be significantly reduced. A team of engineering students from the University of Tennessee lead by PI Paul Frymier and Trainee Michelle Everett started with a commercially available kit for a three-wheeled electric car, the BugE ( They modified the frame and components, test drove the vehicle to simulate use as a commuting vehicle for 2 weeks, and conducted an analysis to compare this vehicle to other vehicles in terms of environmental and health impacts as well as operating and capital costs. The full analysis can be found in a copy of the final project report to the EPA, which is posted at
The report includes a proposal for extending the work for an additional two years.

The tested vehicle uses very little energy and could easily be charged from either a home-installed solar panel or by purchasing “green power” from the local utility.

The video is currently featured on PBS’ website. With enough votes, we could make it to TV.