Operations & Maintenance, Research & Development, Rolling stock & Rail Vehicle Design, Sustainability

Major investment charges electric vehicle transition


The first electric vehicle research facility of its kind in the southern hemisphere will be established at RMIT University in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. 

Supporting the Electrification of Victoria’s Future Fleet is a major project bringing government, university and industry partners together around the expertise and infrastructure needed to support widespread adoption of electric vehicles in Victoria. 

The $5.2 million funding was announced by Gayle Tierney MLC under the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF). 

It marks an important step towards the state’s net zero targets, while boosting skills and employment for Melbourne’s pandemic recovery.  

With transport responsible for around 25 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Victoria, Tierney said electrification of transport was critical for tackling climate change, as well as creating new jobs in low-carbon industries. 

“This is an important project for the future of clean, green transport in Victoria but also for our plan to meet net zero emissions by 2050 through innovative research and the development of new technology,” she said. 

“We know our local universities have a lot to offer which is why we’re working with them, and industry, to build a bright future – while also creating great study, research and job opportunities for Victorians.”

Professor Callum Drummond.

RMIT Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation and Vice-President, Professor Calum Drummond, said activity would focus around a new Electric Vehicle Living Lab with EV charging stations, regenerative grid and battery simulators and more. 

This critical infrastructure will build on RMIT’s existing microgrid and renewable generation facilities.  

“We’ll be developing cutting-edge battery technology and simulating the impacts of wide-scale electric vehicle adoption on electricity grid loading, prices and the broader system,” Drummond said. 

“As well as applied technology development, a full-scale applied research project will inform policy towards Victoria’s net zero emission targets in the transport sector, proactively addressing both likely and unforeseen challenges as electric vehicles are adopted at accelerated rates.” 

Research lead, RMIT’s Associate Professor Mahdi Jalili, said as well as studying the impact of electric vehicles on the grid, they would also investigate opportunities for electric vehicles to actually support the grid, thus improving the security, reliability and affordability of electricity supply. 

The RMIT-led consortium includes Monash and La Trobe universities and industry partners Siemens, City of Melbourne, Centre for New Energy Technologies (C4NET) and CitiPower/Powercor.  

The Electric Vehicle Living Lab at RMIT will also provide hands-on learning opportunities for students. 

The VHESIF funding initiative behind this announcement was developed in response to the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on universities. The investment in RMIT to support pandemic recovery and renewal in Melbourne comes after $44.6 million in round one VHESIF funding last year for development of RMIT’s Social Innovation Precinct.

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