Australia could see its first plug-in hybrid car as soon as May 2008 thanks to a partnership between the University of Technology Sydney and sustainable development company Szencorp.
Top researchers at the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) and UTS:Engineering are being funded by Szencorp to create Australia’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) to be used at Szencorp’s green headquarters in Melbourne.
PHEVs are hybrid vehicles with an additional battery that can be charged directly from a wall socket, enabling the vehicle to run purely on electricity for short trips.
ISF Research Consultant Josh Usher said a Toyota Prius purchased by UTS would have a very safe and lightweight nickel metal hydride battery fitted to it which could be charged using renewable energy from the grid.
"This will effectively render the vehicle carbon neutral for commuting, " Mr Usher said. "The vehicle will be able to run on electricity for over 32 km which is the average daily commute for Sydney workers - the highest average in the country."
The benefits for Australia of adopting PHEVs include:
- Reducing Australia’s dependence on foreign oil;
- Vehicles that can run on clean, renewable electricity as well as being able to power devices such as air-conditioners directly from the batteries;
- A revolution in both the motor vehicle and electricity industries.
Szencorp plans to plug the PHEV into its headquarters at 40 Albert Road, which remains the highest rated green building in Australia. The planned delivery of the vehicle to Melbourne is May of 2008.
Szencorp specialises in energy and water efficiency in the built environment and is a market leader in retrofitting commercial buildings.
Pictured above: ISF Research Consultant Josh Usher