La Trobe University has entered a joint R&D agreement with Indian electric vehicle manufacturer Mahindra Reva, one of the first companies to introduce electric vehicles.


Under the agreement, an advanced energy management system will be developed and trialled by Mahindra Reva at its new electric vehicle plant in Bangalore.


The plant’s power supply includes solar panels with a back-up diesel generator, which the company would eventually like to replace by ‘harvesting’ energy from hundreds of company and employees cars in their car park. 


The project is based on technology developed by La Trobe’s Centre for Technology Infusion and trialled in buildings on the Melbourne campus since 2008.


The La Trobe system is already used for domestic applications following its successful installation by the University, CSIRO and commercial builders in Australia’s first Zero Emission House last year.


Among other features, it enables electric vehicles to be plugged into the home grid, drawing down car battery power, for example during the evening peak, and then, overnight when power is cheaper, recharging the car’s battery for the morning.