Flinders University is electrifying its fleet of vehicles as part of a range of emissions reductions and sustainability initiatives set out in their 2025 Sustainability Plan. The Bedford Park campus is already powered by 100% renewable energy so the EV fleet is now charging every day on sun and wind – it is both cleaner and lower cost. The vehicles are also reliable and need almost zero maintenance – so the move is proving very practical as a fleet operator.
Flinders is embracing the EV Fleet Pledge and are driving further innovation by launching a trial of 20 bidirectional “vehicle-to-grid” chargers. Working with the South Australian Government’s Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Trial they are procuring EV vehicles with bi-directional capabilities. This initiative will ultimately construct a circa 650kW “virtual battery” on campus using the vehicles smart charging stations, and vehicle-to-grid technology. The vehicles, which aren’t typically on the road in the early evenings, will export some of their spare battery capacity into the grid, just when South Australia’s electricity demand is high and solar production is down. Scale this up and our cars will be providing our electricity when it otherwise would be generated from burning natural gas.
Even after securing a favourable long-term 100% renewable power purchasing agreement, Flinders University have found the large-scale on-site solar installations reduce daytime peak demand and provide a positive financial return – it has been an extremely good investment. If they can now use vehicles to provide some storage, they can further match local energy production to meet demand.