An Australia-first trial that will monitor the performance, environmental benefits, policy, infrastructure and practical implications for electric vehicle fleets was launched at The University of Western Australia today.
The University, the private sector and State and local governments will join forces to help demonstrate the potential for widespread use of electric vehicles.
Initiated by CO2 Smart Pty Ltd, the trial will involve UWA's Renewable Energy Vehicle Project and around 10 vehicles, specially converted to electric power, from some of the largest government and industry fleets in the State.
Under the two-year trial, launched by Western Australian Transport Minister Simon O'Brien, a vehicle from the each of the fleets will be used to track and collect data while in use for normal transport purposes.
The West Australian, RAC, Telstra, Main Roads WA, City of Perth, City of Swan, Water Corp, Landcorp, Department of Environment and Conservation, and Department of Transport have committed to participate to date.
Around 10 fast-recharge bays will be installed around Perth for use by the fleet participants. These will be provided, under a separate Australia Research Council Linkage grant, by a consortium led by UWA and including the Department of Transport, Murdoch University, Gull, AEVA and CO2 Smart.
A comprehensive UWA-led research project will aim to provide the insights needed to enable the wider introduction of electric vehicles.
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Robson said the project reflected the University's strong commitment to renewable energy solutions.
"In addition to research on electric vehicles, the University is also involved in international studies of geothermal energy, low emissions coal, solar energy options, bioenergy, carbon dioxide capture, climate change control, and natural resource management, all of which are aimed at securing the future in the face of climate change and dwindling non-renewable energy sources," Professor Robson said.
Managing Director of the WA Electrical Vehicle trial and CO2 Smart CEO Terry Mader said: "We are excited at the opportunity to manage the first Australian EV fleet trial, which is the first serious Australian implementation of electric vehicles into large government and corporate fleets. CO2 Smart is an integrated electric vehicle fleet management company, working with organisations to lower per kilometre costs as well as remove vehicle-related CO2 emissions. This includes correct vehicle selection, the required recharging network and organisational support."
Trial technical director Professor Thomas Braunl said the first Australian electric vehicle trial would be conducted in conjunction with the first Australian fast-charging network trial, which will reduce charging times to less than one third of slow charging.
"With these two interconnected trials we are trying to find out how electric vehicles can cope in the real world, what benefits they bring and also what problems can arise and how they can be solved," Professor Braunl said.
"The charging data collected will allow us to predict future EV infrastructure requirements as well as future electricity demands and grid loads, when more cars will be electric."
On-road testing of the prototype is due to begin in May.
Professor Thomas Braunl (+61 8) 6488 1763
(UWA Professor of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering)
Terry Mader (Co2 Smart Pty Ltd) (+61 4) 66 663 639
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716