The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) has decided to establish an electric vehicle (EV) research facility thanks to $5.2 million in funding from the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF).
Situated in the middle of the Melbourne CBD, it has been touted as the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
The EV Research Facility project was announced by Labor minister for higher education, training and skills Gayle Tierney, who underlined the research and job opportunities that the Centre could create.
“This is an important project for the future of clean, green transport in Victoria but also for our plan to meet net-zero emissions by 2050 through innovative research and the development of new technology,” Tierney said.
RMIT deputy VC for research and innovation Professor Calum Drummond said in a statement that in addition to working on cutting-edge battery technology and will also simulate “the impacts of wide-scale electric vehicle adoption on electricity grid loading, prices and the broader system.
“As well as applied technology development, a full-scale applied research project will inform policy towards Victoria’s net-zero emission targets in the transport sector, proactively addressing both likely and unforeseen challenges as electric vehicles are adopted at accelerated rates,” Drummond said.
The state of Victoria has set goals to transition its bus fleet to all-electric by 2025 and aims for half of all new car sales to be all-electric 2030. Findings from the research facility will help to inform a smooth transition to sustainable transport.
Led by the RMIT, the “Supporting the Electrification of Victoria’s Future Fleet” project will also take in the efforts of Monash and La Trobe universities as well as industry partners Siemens, the City of Melbourne, C4NET (Centre for New Energy Technologies) – RMIT’s energy grid and markets centre – and CitiPower/Powercor.
C4NET boss James Seymour also wants the lab to create a publicly available electric vehicle data repository that contains real-world data on everything from travel patterns and battery performance of EVs and the user behavior of owners to how they respond to energy tariffs.
“This publicly available dataset will support electric vehicle research in Victoria, nationally and internationally, filling a critical gap in capability and complements C4NET’s broader data access service from Victoria’s 2.7 million smart meters,” Seymour said.
The funding for RMIT EV Research centre comes in response to the impact the pandemic has had on universities and will create hands-on learning opportunities for students, VHESIF said.