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Driving forward electric vehicle research

27 June 2012

Electric car
First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones with Professor Karen Holford, Director of Cardiff School of Engineering and Dr Paul Nieuwenhuis, Cardiff Business School in one of the electric vehicles on display at the University.

The University has announced plans for the creation of the first multidisciplinary Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence in the UK.

A collaboration between the School of Engineering and Cardiff Business School, the Centre will research all aspects of electric vehicles including design and manufacture; innovative business models; consumer expectations and incentivisation; energy supply; and charging infrastructure.

The multidisciplinary approach towards research carried out at the Centre will be unique in many respects. One example will be the ability of researchers to link the vehicle perspective with the issues surrounding that of electricity generation. Electric vehicles are only as green as the electricity that powers them and the potential for electric vehicles to store green electricity and feed it back to the grid when the wind stops blowing or the sun stops shining is an attractive future option.

Professor Karen Holford, Director of Cardiff University's School of Engineering said: "Together, we are confident that Cardiff Business School and Cardiff School of Engineering have the expertise and resources to make a significant contribution to research into the barriers towards the wider uptake of electric vehicles."

The announcement of the new Centre will be made to an audience of global automotive experts from academia, business and the public sector at the Electric Vehicle Summit being held this week at the University (Wednesday 27 June).

Opened by the Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales, the Summit will provide a platform to enable industry experts to share and exchange knowledge with businesses, academics and policy makers on a global level.

Speaking about the event the First Minister said: "It is vital that we reduce the emissions produced by the transport sector and electric vehicles will play a key part in this. There are challenges facing us, including the cars being accepted by the public and developing the technology further, but this technology represents the future.

"The launch of this new centre, the first of its kind in the UK, has an important role to play in developing further innovation in electric vehicles. It will enhance Wales' ability to contribute significantly to the development of low carbon vehicles, through R&D, and by developing companies in the supply chain."

Dr Paul Nieuwenhuis, Cardiff Business School, said: "Historically, research in the area of Electric Vehicles has focused on technological issues in isolation. The announcement of the creation of the new multidisciplinary Electric Vehicle Centre and the hosting of the Electric Vehicle Summit demonstrates the strength, quality and commitment of collaborative research within the area of sustainable transport at Cardiff University."

The Electric Vehicle Summit has been organised by the Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) and ENEVATE. BRASS is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded interdisciplinary research centre based at Cardiff University combining expertise from the Business School, the Law School and the School of City and Regional Planning. The centre pursues high quality, interdisciplinary social science research and engagement with research users to create knowledge and tools that will promote more sustainable stakeholder relationships amongst and within businesses, society and the environment.

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