Canadian university to make dream facility for cars of the future

Head of the University of Waterloo GAIA research facility, John McPhee - Photo credit NSERC
Head of the University of Waterloo GAIA research facility, John McPhee - photo courtesy of NSERC

Canada’s University of Waterloo is to establish a new C$10m ($8.2m) research facility which will help to develop more efficient and eco-friendly vehicles.

The Green and Intelligent Automotive (GAIA) research facility will feature three labs that will each focus on a particular concept; powertrain efficiency, the development of longer-lasting batteries, and the testing of modified hybrid electric vehicles.

The GAIA research facility received initial funding of C$1m from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, which was followed by $2.1m each from Canada and Ontario’s governments through the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Research Fund Research Infrastructure programs.

The research work undertaken by the GAIA could have the potential to enable hybrid vehicles to feed energy into Canada’s electrical grid and become an integral daytime supplier of low cost energy.

Waterloo University systems design engineering professor and GAIA project lead researcher, John McPhee, said it was a dream facility for developing electric vehicles.

“The GAIA facility will enable world-class multidisciplinary research with a strong collaborative approach,” he said.

“If you’re serious about doing work in the electrification of a vehicle, this is everybody’s dream facility.”

The GAIA project is set to work towards a common objective; smarter, more energy-efficient automobiles with reduced emissions.

As part of the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research, GAIA will support Canadian industry by providing new components and systems into a rapidly growing market such as electric vehicles.

The facility is offering open access for any company interested in their research and development, and it is expected new companies will be established to help meet demand.