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Canada: New partnership will drive electric vehicle research

Research into green transportation in Ontario just got a boost, thanks to a new partnership that lets researchers and drivers see how well electric vehicles perform.

The new collaboration, called Drive4Data, is the first of its kind in Canada and involves the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) at the University of Waterloo and FleetWise EV300, an initiative of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF).

The project involves collecting data from the owners of electric vehicles who agree to have a small wireless device about the size of a cell phone installed in their car. The Waterloo company CrossChasm, a technology partner in this initiative, created the device. It collects key statistics, such as mileage, battery charging and energy use, and then relays it to WISE. This real-world data could help advance research into everything from battery technology to smart grid management.

“Just by logging into a website, drivers can access detailed reports on their vehicle’s performance,” said Tracey Forrest, director of WISE. “They can track the distance they’ve travelled, improve their charging schedule, monitor their fuel and electricity usage and benchmark their performance against similar vehicles.”

Thanks to the TAF partnership, WISE researchers can now access data from 70 fleet-based electric vehicles through FleetWise EV300—a non-profit program that is working with fleet managers in the public and private sectors make the shift to electric vehicles.

“The better we understand electric vehicle performance, the better we can determine the true business and environmental case for ownership with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ben Marans, manager of social innovation & transportation for TAF. “Collaborating with WISE fits perfectly with our goal of encouraging electric vehicle use throughout the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.”


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