Mike Stevens | Jul 27, 2010

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) is nailing its 'sustainable transport credentials' to the mast; it has announced today that it is committing to an EV fleet under its new Campus Solar initiative and in partnership with EV services provider Better Place.

As part of the project, Better Place Australia will install battery-charging infrastructure in the university's new on-campus solar precinct, which will also be capable of generating renewable energy for the electric vehicle fleet.

Announcing the plans this week, UNSW Vice-Chancellor Professor Fred Hilmer said the project will allow, for the first time, practical research into how big an impact will be made to Australia's power grid by having a significant number of electric vehicles hooking in.

“UNSW is a world leader in solar photovoltaics and environmental sustainability is a research priority for us,” Professor Hilmer said.

“Our work with Better Place and the Campus Solar initiative will not only improve the University’s energy efficiency but will provide the knowledge that will enable clean electric power to be used in energy-intensive areas such as transport.”

Better Place Australia CEO, Evan Thornley said the partnership marks a significant milestone in Better Place's plans for a national charging infrastructure.

“Electric vehicle batteries have storage capacity to take electricity whenever it is generated, so EVs become the perfect customer for intermittent renewable energy like solar and wind,” Mr Thornley said.

“Working with the solar experts at UNSW will help us develop this exciting opportunity.”

The US-owned organisation has already forged partnerships with the University of Melbourne, and will also soon begin building infrastructure for residential and business needs in Canberra.

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