Basic Utility Vehicles for Rural Transportation

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Frequently Asked Questions

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1. Who designs the BUV?
2. Who will buy BUVs?
3. Who uses the designs?
4. What is IAT's role in the BUV development process?
5. How is IAT funded?
6. How do corporate sponsors benefit?
7. What are some of the attributes of the BUV?
8. What is the work plan for the BUV?
9. What are the most common BUV applications?
10. How are BUVs distributed


Who designs the BUV?

There is a team of 5 people that have contributed the most to the BUV design.  IAT works with the private sector and utilizes engineering students for cost-effective product development. Teams of engineering students nationwide generate prototype BUV designs and participate in annual BUV Design Competitions. More than thirty universities have participated including Auburn, Purdue, Marquette, Michigan, Missouri, John Brown, University of Cincinatti, University of Dayton, Miami University, SUNY, University of Northern Arizona, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and Northern Illinois University.

Who buys BUVs?

Target consumers will be small business owners with incomes less than $4000 per year. Target countries are those in Africa and Latin America. BUVs are best suited for warm climates because BUVs are open-air vehicles. Flat or rolling hill topography is preferred because the economical engine has limited power. BUVs are designed for rural applications.

Who uses the designs?

Small manufacturers in impoverished areas use the designs. The Technology Transfer Package will help small businesses bypass the costly product development process. By removing R&D from the product cost, IAT allows small manufacturers in Africa  a way to quickly enter the motor-vehicle business with low investment.

What is IAT's role in the BUV development process?

IAT researches the need and feasibility of BUVs, mobilizes university involvement through the Annual BUV Competition (16 years running), and promotes the vehicle to a variety of stakeholders. IAT is a non-profit organization with headquarters in Indianapolis. IAT partners with aid agencies and mission organizations whenever possible. IAT leverages the skills of many volunteers around the world to pursue its goals at very low cost.

How is IAT funded?

IAT is funded by individuals, foundations, churches, and international corporations. Targeted corporations include those that extract resources from developing nations and those companies that can directly benefit from BUV sales (i.e. manufacturers of small engines, auto parts, and petroleum products).

How do corporate sponsors benefit?

Sponsors have an opportunity to make a tax-deductible contribution that could indirectly help create new markets for their products. Furthermore, this goodwill endeavor can attract national and sometimes international publicity by helping the less fortunate. Sponsors also benefits from the involvement of college students (both via PR and employment).

What are some of the attributes of the BUV?

The design theme is simple, durable, and functional. BUVs are designed around the following specifications (partial list):

Cost: About $6500 depending on options.  Subtract $900 if produced in African factory
Payload: 1750 lbs
Speed: 20 mph (governed)
Weight: 1250 lb (3-wheel version)
Engine: 10 hp diesel
Maximize: number of unassembled kits that fit in 20' ocean container
Minimize: total cost of ownership, custom designed parts, part count
Parts Excluded: doors, body panels, glass, trim, gauges, hydraulics, radiator, heater, AC


What are the most common BUV applications?

  • medical vehicle
  • farm vehicle carrying farm inputs / outputs
  • construction vehicle for churches, clinics, schools
  • water distribution or water purification
  • school bus for children

How are BUVs distributed?

Eight assembled BUVs can fit in one 40' ocean container, or 14 crated units (nested halves), or 60 separately packed front BUV kits can be sent in a 20' ocean containers.

Full shipments reduce freight / theft costs, and enhance consistency during customs. The entire container is placed on to a large truck and delivered to the BUV factory. Over time, local sourcing occurs and more jobs are created. Each assembler/dealer assembles, sells, and services BUVs.