Oxford Brookes key player in world's biggest trial of electric cars

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


Scientists and psychologists at Oxford Brookes University are taking part in the world’s largest co-ordinated trial of environmentally friendly vehicles.

Scientists and psychologists at Oxford Brookes University are taking part in the world’s largest co-ordinated trial of environmentally friendly vehicles.

Experts from Brookes’ world-leading Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre (SVEC) within the School of Technology will analyse electronic data from 40 electric BMW MINI E vehicles.

The MINI Es will undergo a 12-month field trial in Oxfordshire. 80 drivers will lease the cars for six months and help BMW evaluate the technical and social aspects of living with an electric vehicle in a real world environment.

Other MINI field trials are also taking place in North America and Germany.

Across the UK, about 340 vehicles built by a number of manufacturers are involved in the trials.

Psychologists from the School of Social Sciences and Law will choose MINI E drivers through an online application process and then monitor their day-to-day experiences.

All of the vehicles in the project are supplied with data loggers, allowing real-time vehicle usage and driver behaviour to be constantly tracked.

Professor Allan Hutchinson, head of the SVEC, said he was delighted the university was working towards a sustainable motoring future: “It is essential the environmental challenges facing the global automotive industry are tackled now.

“We’re delighted to be working with BMW Group on this research project, and to be able to build upon our extensive expertise in electric and hybrid vehicles.”

The SVEC is a leading research centre in low emission vehicles and also studies the commercial realities facing these vehicles.

“Experts from the SVEC will be forecasting the business models and market for electric cars across Europe, too,” explained Prof Hutchinson.