$1.5 million e-mobility fellowship to spark jobs growth
The Australian e-mobility sector is getting a charge up with a $1.5 million investment to The University of Queensland from the family foundation of energy entrepreneur Trevor St Baker.
Coming from the Trevor and Judith St Baker Family Foundation, the donation will contribute towards a $3 million five-year research fellowship that aims to drive Australian EV innovation.
Trevor says that the research will focus on smart charging infrastructure and analyse tariff schemes that would support EV adoption, aiming to increase employment in the sector.
“E-mobility research and innovation are developing exponentially and can lead to increased commercial and employment opportunities in the industry,” he says.
“Brisbane company Tritium is a perfect example of how university innovation can lead to commercialisation. Tritium has grown from an idea developed by three students from The University of Queensland into a global company that now employs hundreds of people around the world.
“Of those employees, 55 are graduates from Australian universities, which demonstrates the extraordinary opportunity this sector offers.”
A global search for the inaugural St Baker Research Fellow in Electromobility is currently underway.
“The St Baker Fellow will lead research activities directed toward advancing the performance, economics and uptake of E-Mobility globally,” University of Queensland Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology Executive Dean Vicki Chen says.
“This is a rare opportunity for someone to contribute to research that will inform public policy, investment decisions, technology innovation, business models, and community behaviour in support of the transition to sustainable, low-emission, electric-powered transportation.
“Thanks to the generosity of Trevor and Judith St Baker, UQ will accelerate its position as global leader in e-mobility technology.”
Earlier this year, Tritium launched its advanced DC fast charger, which is the first to introduce modular scalable charging (MSC). The technology enables charges to be upgraded in much the same way that RAM can be added to a computer.
Tritium Engineering program manager and UQ graduate Harry Watson is one of the bright sparks behind the development of the world-first technology: “As an industry in its infancy, e-mobility typically struggles to attract workers with a strong understanding of the very complex and niche technology.
“By exposing more students to e-mobility at UQ, we’ll attract a broader pool of graduate employees, which will benefit both Tritium and the green transport industry in the long term.
“The unique challenges that UQ’s research will address will also reduce development risks for Tritium, allowing us to develop better, cheaper and more efficient technology.”
The research grant has come at a critical juncture, considering the growing number of countries that have committed to banning the sale of petrol- and diesel-fuelled vehicles over the next decade.