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UOIT smart grid expert exploring Ontario’s road to transportation electrification

Dr. Hossam Gaber, Associate Professor, UOIT, makes presentation at the Mayor of Nanjing's International Consultative Conference, Nanjing, China (September 23, 2014)
Dr. Hossam Gaber, Associate Professor, UOIT, makes presentation at the Mayor of Nanjing's International Consultative Conference, Nanjing, China (September 23, 2014)

An expert in smart energy grid research at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) believes electric (battery-powered) cars can and will be a practical and affordable choice for Ontario consumers in near future. And he says the road to that day will be smoother if power utilities start talking with each other now about a co-ordinated approach to infrastructure planning.

“Ontario would be an ideal place shift toward electric cars, but that shift will require building the infrastructure to support all of these new vehicles,” said Dr. Hossam Gaber, Associate Professor, UOIT Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science (cross-appointed with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science). “At the moment, the province has a large number of different local power utilities which for the most part, operate independently of each other. To overcome any long-term roadblocks in developing electric car infrastructure, everyone will need to be on the same strategic page.”

As recently as 2009, Ontario was hoping for five per cent of all vehicles on the road by 2020 (as many as 380,000 cars) to be electric. As that campaign nears the halfway point, the current tally sits at only 2,500 cars.

“There are many questions we need to find answers for: reasonable charging times, load on the existing power grid, encouraging utilities to partner on infrastructure growth, costs, and of course, gaining the confidence of consumers.” said Dr. Gaber. “We need to talk and share ideas to help move this forward.”

Dr. Gaber is advancing transportation electrification on the global stage as well. He was among nearly twenty scientists invited in September to an international conference hosted by the Mayor of Nanjing, China. Dr. Gaber presented innovative ideas to help Nanjing implement sustainable infrastructures of smart energy grids and microgrids, and reduce carbon emissions.

“It’s clear we are all in same boat on this, no matter which part of the planet we are in,” said Dr. Gaber. “The Nanjing gathering was a great opportunity for the University of Ontario Institute of Technology to reaffirm our strong commitment to state-of-the-art technologies for transportation electrification. UOIT looks forward to hosting our global colleagues next summer at the August 2015 International Conference on Smart Energy Grid Engineering (R&D forum for industry and academia) in Oshawa.”