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UBC Okanagan developing eco-friendly electric vehicle charging stations

Majid Moradzadeh, a doctoral student in power engineering, inspects an electric vehicle charging station at UBC Okanagan.
Majid Moradzadeh, a doctoral student in power engineering, inspects an electric vehicle charging station at UBC Okanagan. UBCO

UBC Okanagan engineering students and professors are researching how to improve the efficiency and cost associated with charging electric vehicles.

Despite the perception that electric vehicles are environmentally friendly, the reality is that most of the electricity used to power the vehicles is generated using fossil fuels, according to the university.

Read more: Is the electric car revolution leaving Canada behind?

“Renewable energy sources are currently a small part of the larger electricity generation system,” said Majid Moradzadeh, a doctoral engineering student.

“Due to the variability of electricity output by these renewable sources, energy storage systems are vital to ensuring continuous power is available.”

In the first study, Moradzadeh says he developed a planning method for fast-charging stations.

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The method explores different features of renewable resources, energy storage systems and the electric vehicles’ charging demand.

The goal is to build a charging station at minimal cost, using renewable energy sources to charge the vehicle while still meeting performance requirements.

Read more: Electric vehicle options grow, but automakers still unclear if Canadians will buy them

“The key to building sustainable electric vehicle infrastructure is to ensure that it is economical,” said Morad Abdelaziz, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at UBC Okanagan. 

“By developing a planning method, we are building a road map towards fast charging stations that can seamlessly target renewable sources of power instead of relying on existing fossil-fuel-powered sources.”

According to the university, the findings will be used by governments to help establish future charging stations.