UQ to be centre for electric vehicle technology

A new research post at the University of Queensland will focus on advancing the performance, economics, and uptake of electric vehicle technology.

Dr Jake Whitehead will be the dedicated e-mobility researcher, and the position – the Tritium e-Mobility Visiting Fellow – is named after the electric vehicle fast charging company, headquartered in Queensland, which first started as a solar car racing team at the University of Queensland in 1999.

While the transportation sector remains one of the main generators of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions globally, it also has great potential to be part of a solution, with electric vehicles being rolled out worldwide.

“EV technology, and e-mobility more broadly, present enormous opportunities for Australia,” said Whitehead.

“EV technology will reduce both carbon and particulate emissions, helping not only the environment but also improving air quality and reducing the impact of fossil fuel vehicle emissions on our health.”

The role at the University of Queensland is supported by a $1.5 million donation from the Trevor and Judith St Baker Family Foundation, and will seek to use Australia’s existing capabilities to be a world leader in this sector.

“From an economic perspective, we have a unique opportunity to build on our existing mining expertise, and transition our resources sector towards the growing global demand for the minerals required to produce batteries and EVs,” said Whitehead.

Contributing to Whitehead’s research will be colleagues at the UQ Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation, that is conducting the ‘Rapid Switch Project’. The project aims to find viable and rapid pathways to transition to a low carbon economy.

“Transport costs can also be reduced by at least 70 per cent through the use of EVs, meaning we can travel from A to B cheaper and also transport goods at a lower cost.

“Finally, EVs can support the uptake of renewable energy and lead to a more stable electricity grid by acting as ‘batteries-on-wheels’,” said Whitehead.