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Research Partnerships & Innovation

Students Pave Way in Electric Vehicle Readiness Competition

June 5, 2017


A team of Red River College students have paved the way for a campus transition toward electric vehicles by participating in Electric Mobility Canada’s student competition, which took place this week during EMC’s annual electric vehicle conference and trade show.

“At the end, we were very satisfied with our presentation,” said Electronic Engineering student Seokmin Mike Oh, a core member of the student-research team.
This marked the first time that Red River College participated in the competition.

About the College’s Project

Student teams had one month to develop a proposal about developing infrastructure to help the College transition toward an electric vehicle future.
The College competed against the University of Waterloo in Ontario and the Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec, with Waterloo winning the day.
“Even though we didn’t get awarded, this was a really good experience for ourselves and for the College,” said team-member Jeongsoo Bae.
The judging panel ruled that the Red River team conducted solid stakeholder engagement, presented clearly and presented some good, unique ideas.
The team conducted an electric vehicle readiness assessment of the campus in consultation with a range of stakeholders.
They conducted a demand analysis of electric vehicles and then examined infrastructure readiness at the Notre Dame Campus.
Some of the barriers they identified to electric vehicle adoption at the College include cost, range anxiety and cold temperatures that batteries would be exposed to in Manitoba.
The team utilized this research to develop a proposal for expanding electric vehicle readiness on campus, which focused on expanding the availability of affordable charging stations and expanding the College’s fleet of hybrid and electric vehicles.

What’s Next?

“Electric vehicles were new for us, even though we are in electronics, so learning something new and getting background knowledge about EV was very interesting and we learned a lot of new concepts,” Mike said.
As for the students themselves, they hope their project will get some attention from the College. The team is polishing their presentation and will be sharing it internally, with hopes that it will be useful for the College administration.
The competition was rewarding for the team because it forced them to work across disciplines including mechanical and international business, and it also put their applied electronics knowledge into a project design environment.
“The most difficult part of planning projects is you have to start with nothing – you’re just touching the abstract,” Mike said. “We are accustomed to focusing on concrete, applied things, so working in the abstract on planning and overall project design is difficult. Talking to management was a new experience for me, and learning new concepts was the most rewarding part of this.”
Through the Electric Vehicle Technology & Education Centre (EVTEC) initiative, the College is leading the way in electric vehicle education, testing and applied research in cold weather performance.