India-Victoria electric car use research project launched

As part of the Victoria government's trade mission to India this week, premier of Victoria Ted Baillieu and Swinburne University of Technology vice-chancellor Professor Linda Kristjanson announced the launch of a research project aimed at increasing alternative energy use in transport.

The function was attended by representatives of Jaypee University of Information Technology (JUIT) and associate dean of research at Swinburne's faculty of engineering and industrial sciences, professor Ajay Kapoor.

The research project is a three-year collaboration between Swinburne, JUIT and the Melbourne-based Co-operative Research Centre for Advanced Automotive Technology (AutoCRC).

Professor Kristjanson said the project has all the hallmarks that make international research engagement so critical to the future of Australia and India.

''This research promises to make an important contribution to a clean energy future and, by collaborating, we can make a measurable difference to the future of our planet,'' Professor Kristjanson said.

''The project will consider the social and technological barriers and challenges that exist in relation to consumer uptake of alternative energy transport in India and is symbolic of Swinburne's commitment to international research collaboration regarding critical issues facing the world today.''

Swinburne's multidisciplinary team of researchers is looking at how to create a mass market and increase uptake of electric vehicles.

Consumers in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh and Shimla will be studied to determine:

  • Factors driving the use of alternative energy transport, such as noise pollution and environmental pollution, cost of petrol and running out of petrol;

  • Availability of alternative energy transport, including the purchase price, running cost and servicing cost of such vehicles; and

  • Feasibility of using electric cars and other factors such as personal preference, range anxiety, children's influence on environmentally friendly transport, issues with ageing population for use of such cars and gender issues.

Professor Kapoor is leading the Swinburne team and is working in collaboration with the Australian academic community and industry participants.

At JUIT the project is led by professor Nirupama Prakash, with professor Alok Ray from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi and professor Rajesh Gill from Panjab University, partners in the first phase of the project.

The university, located at Melbourne in Australia's southeastern state of Victoria, said in a statement that it was uniquely positioned to make a contribution to the development of an electric vehicle industry. Swinburne's electric vehicle group, led by professor Kapoor has over 20 academic staff and 25 doctoral students.

''At Swinburne, we have an ambition to become one of the leading research intensive universities in the Asia Pacific,'' Professor Kristjanson said. ''We intend to build on our rich history to become the MIT of Australia by 2020, renowned for our research in the sciences, technology and studies of society.''

Swinburne is ranked in the top three per cent of universities globally and in the top 100 in the world in the field of physics.

While in India, Professor Kristjanson has participated in a higher education round table with a range of Indian universities.

She has also moderated a session called 'Building Sustainable Partnerships' at a symposium on Education in a Globalised World in Delhi.