Distinguished Professor John Boys and Professor Grant Covic from the University of Auckland won the Prime Minister’s Science Prize in 2013.

“Our work presently focuses on enabling greater usage of Electric Vehicles (EV’s) in and around cities thereby enabling public transport, fleet and goods deliveries vehicles in future cities to be electric and run for extended periods without downtime. This also reduces the demand for petrol and diesel driven vehicles which will lead to improvements in health from reduced transport emissions.

Winning the Prime Minister’s Science Prize means we have been able to put a laboratory scale system together that is representative of a taxi-rank charging system, where the alignment and final position of the taxi may vary.

Here the power pads under the road are driven from a main power supply which can be placed or buried alongside or near the kerb.

This work supported several Post Doctorate students and helped several PhD students to test their ideas, which have been published in the leading international journals in our field. This facility has become a major research facility within the University of Auckland that is world leading. It was showcased at a major conference here in Auckland in December 2016 (although it was not complete at that stage), and has since been used as a key showcase in several informational videos.

It is also a critical facility required for a recent large endeavour, an Inductive Power Transfer  (IPT) highways proposal, which was successful. This work will allow us to extend our ideas and to evaluate the impacts of such a system in purpose built roadways.  Consequently we are now moving ahead with a much larger group of mechanical, electrical, civil transport, and materials specialists across the country, and other internationally significant groups who are becoming active in this space. The target of this work is to find solutions to the bigger problem of making the roadway IPT work inside the road and survive in this most hostile environment.  At the time this Prize was invaluable as otherwise funding would have been extremely difficult.

The facility is now complete (although we are always improving things), so this year we are moving ahead in our plans use the last part of our Prize to purchase a car and start retrofitting it as a suitable demo of the technology.