UKM To Jointly Develop ASEAN Electric Vehicle With Partners
By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Ikhwan Hashim
SINGAPORE, 17 August 2015 – The National University of Malaysia’s (UKM) Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) will take jointly develop an electric vehicle with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore and Electric Vehicle Automotive Malaysia (EVAM) Sdn Bhd.
The Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) for the deal signed here today requires that UKM, among other things, develop the battery technology and battery management system of the electric car.
UKM Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mazlin Mokhtar signed for his university while Prof. Dr. Subodh Mhaisalkar, Executive Director of Energy Research Institute (Enrion) of NTU represented the Singapore institution and Chuah Ban Cheng, Executive Director EVAM did the honours for his company.
The ceremony was witnessed by SERI Director Prof Dato’ Dr Kamaruzzaman Sopian and Chief Executive Officer of NTU Private Limited Dr Lim Jui.
Apart from developing the battery under the terms of the MoU, UKM will also research into thermal management, Vehicle Ergonomic and Comfort Level, Vehicle dynamics and Charging infrastructure.
Prof. Mazlin said UKM is committed to fulfilling its end of the pact.
“UKM puts a clear priority on engaging with industry for mutual benefit and this collaboration is very timely as it further strengthens university-industry partnership in research and innovation and strongly supports UKM’s on-going efforts in responding to the nation’s pressing need for producing truly innovative products.
“It is through the joint collaboration on EV with NTU and EVAM, that UKM is able to optimize our expertise in EV technology and introduce our innovation to Malaysia and thus, ASEAN automotive industries market.”
Managing director of EVAM Woo Kok Boon is eager to push forward, highlighting the benefits for the country if this and similar future projects as a result of the agreement were to be successful.
“We are honoured to be possibly the first Malaysian company to look into EV research and development in the country, and to introduce such innovative and ground-breaking technology from our partners.
“We are certain that this MoU will produce a significant leap forward for Malaysia, Singapore and the region in terms of high impact projects, both socially and economically, for the countries,” Woo explained.
Also present at the ceremony were Dato’ Abu Hanifah Nordic, director of EVAM, Dr Lim Jui, CEO of NTU – NTUitive Pte Ltd who said this MoU set the stage for a collaboration that leverages complementary capabilities in the automotive industry between UKM and NTU as well as Malaysia and Singapore.
UKM’s lead researcher of the car Dr Halim Hj Razali said they intend to use Lithium Ion batteries that will be more compact and lighter.
“It’s important to have a Li ion battery that is much smaller and does not take up too much weight of the car. At present, the typical Li ion battery available constitutes one-thirds the weight of the car and doesn’t leave much room for anything else.
“The UKM researchers from SERI, the Faculties of Science and Technology, and Engineering and Built Environment are studying various materials for the battery, such as palm oil, rubber and even sea-weed. The aim is to reduce the size and weight and eventually the battery will look like a lump of dry plastic, but without sacrificing on energy output,” Dr Halim told the UKM News Portal.
He said experiments done on Li ion batteries produced a type that allowed the car to travel for 60 km after a 15 minute charge.
“We want to extend that to 200 km,” he stated.
He expected that challenges will come from setting up charging stations in the area of operations of such a car.
After the signing ceremony, NTU demonstrated its current project with renowned German car manufacturer BMW, a Sports car which has a plug-in hybrid electricity and petrol motor.
NTU has also jointly developed an electric-powered taxi for the tropics, called EVA, with the Technische Universität München (TUM) with strong support from Singapore’s National Research Foundation.
It took two years and SGD 2 million (RM 6 million) to develop the vehicle from the ground up, which was demonstrated to the UKM entourage at the National University of Singapore.