Hot, cold and in between

A joint research partnership between Western University and Fanshawe College to study climate effects on electric vehicle energy use

Photo: Photo by Michael Fousert on Unsplash

A NEW JOINT project between Western University’s Faculty of Engineering and Fanshawe College’s Centre for Research and Innovation (CRI), in collaboration with London Hydro, is investigating household energy consumption for electric vehicles (EVs) and how weather factors affect it.

EVs charged in Ontario produce, on average, only three per cent of the emissions of a similar gas-fueled car. The focus of the research is to determine whether climate factors affect energy use when recharging EVs at home. Researchers will collect data in different temperatures using smart meters and the Green Button Standard, an initiative that authorizes third parties to access household utility data.

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Understanding the impact of weather factors on EV charging will provide owners insight on the best times to recharge their vehicles. The results from the data collected will also allow London Hydro to better understand electricity distribution leading to a positive impact on operational costs and consumer charges.

The project is part of a new agreement between CRI and Western Engineering to collaborate on industry-focused research and training opportunities.

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“We are excited to strengthen ties with Fanshawe to foster innovation and research impact in the city,” says Western vice-president (research), Lesley Rigg. “Working together provides unique training and collaboration opportunities, and it allows us to connect our collective work to our partners’ needs in meaningful ways.”

This partnership combines the resources of two leaders in sustainable building engineering research, with the mandate of supporting Canada’s start-up and small- to medium-sized enterprises to drive economic growth. The agreement allows researchers from both institutions to lend their expertise to joint projects, cultivating new discoveries and a greater spectrum of projects that can be undertaken. CRI and Western Engineering will also benefit from resource sharing, including the use of advanced laboratory equipment, grant collaborations and student contributions.

Hot, cold and in between electric vehicle Research & Development

To assess weather effect on EV charging, the project team will examine trends and patterns between different seasons and different EVs and study the relationship between energy consumed to charge an EV, outdoor temperature, and the temperature of the parking location.

Lead researcher Miriam Capretz, software engineering professor and associate dean of research at Western Engineering, hopes this project will promote interest in EV ownership, leading to economic growth while benefiting the environment.

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“Western Engineering has been a proud partner with London Hydro for over eight years,” says Capretz, who works closely with Syed Mir, vice-president of corporate services at London Hydro, and chair of the Green Button Alliance, a non-profit organization that fosters the development, compliance and wide­spread adoption of the Green Button standard. “I’m excited to strengthen this partnership by joining forces with Fanshawe. Working with these local partners, we can put London at the forefront of technologies to analyze and deliver services that make smarter cities a reality.”

Colin Yates, chair of research at CRI, is excited by the opportunity to engage industry and academia in a greater scope of projects to help grow the economy. “Fanshawe’s researchers and laboratory facilities are at the forefront of research and development to remove barriers to growth for emerging businesses, and we welcome the opportunity to join with Western Engineering to accelerate projects for partners across the country.”

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Yates says Fanshawe’s new Centre for Connected Building Technologies is a great resource for Western’s faculty to collaborate on advanced engineering projects to address the pressing challenges of sustainability.

“Resource sharing is the way forward to create more innovative solutions,” adds Yates. “By joining forces, Fanshawe and Western put London and region at the leading-edge of R&D. We’re very excited to work with other faculties in the future so that even more great research projects are developed.” Hot, cold and in between electric vehicle Research & Development Story by Natalie Ebel, courtesy of Western News (with files from Fanshawe College Communications)

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