Veridian donates solar vehicle to UOIT PDF Print E-mail

The gift of an electric car from an area electrical utility company gives a boost to the automotive engineering program at UOIT.

Veridian President and CEO Michael Angemeer recently handed over the keys to his modified Toyota Prius - Canada's first plug-in hybrid solar electric vehicle - to Dr. Greg Rohrauer, assistant professor, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).

The vehicle will be used as part of the Automotive Engineering program's participation in Auto21 - Canada's national automotive research program - and vehicle-to- grid communications testing. Dr. Rohrauer is also the lead for the Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) at UOIT, which will host research and development from worldwide automotive companies when it opens later this year.

"This donation is another example of the strong, committed partnership between Veridian and UOIT to continue its research and development of electric vehicles, renewable energy and smart grid technologies," says Angemeer who is also a member of the university's Board of Governors. "It will also help the program move vehicle electrification technology forward, engage and develop student talent in electric vehicle technology, and provide a platform for vehicle-to-grid communications testing which is the thrust of the work performed under Auto21."

"Today marks another exciting milestone for the university as we gratefully accept a major donation to our Automotive Engineering program and welcome the latest addition to Canada's largest electric vehicle fleet on a university campus," said Dr. Ronald Bordessa, president, UOIT. "This donation supports UOIT's ongoing commitment to delivering a leading-edge, technology-rich learning environment that provides hands-on experience for students while also promoting the highest quality of innovative research."

Veridian is a growing leader in smart grid technologies that will help with the successful deployment of electric vehicles. Nearly all of Veridian's customers have smart meters, and time-of-use rates are being implemented with a targeted completion of April 2011. The ability to use off-peak electricity for more inexpensive vehicle charging, combined with smart technologies to optimize the use of the grid, will make Veridian's service territory an ideal place for electric vehicle deployment.

"Electric vehicles will be an integral component of the Region of Durham's future with planned charging demonstration projects, vehicle purchases and battery research sponsored by General Motors," explains Angemeer. "In fact, GM has announced that the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle will be sold in Oshawa later this year and hopefully an electric vehicle will be manufactured here soon as well. It's only a matter of time until the Region is known as Ontario's Electric Avenue."

Driven by Angemeer since 2007, the modified Prius was the first of its kind in Canada - using both grid electricity and electricity generated by solar panels on its roof which significantly reduces the car's fuel requirements. The vehicle has a larger nanophosphate lithium ion battery capable of storing an electric charge that allows it to run off the grid-generated electricity and solar-generated electricity, in addition to gasoline. For short distances, the car can run solely on electricity. Angemeer currently drives a 4-cylinder Chevrolet Equinox but will be at the helm of a new Chevrolet Volt in the coming months.