Transport systems face challenges over dependence on oil, technological innovation, digital technology and population growth. In response to these challenges, the Energy Centre is currently engaged in the following projects.

Travel demand

Road passenger transport connects people and economic activity. Transport users have a choice; some alternatives are substitutes while others may be complements. New Zealand has the highest motor vehicle ownership in the OECD.

The study considered four main road transport choices: petrol cars, diesel cars, buses and motorcycles. Empirical evidence shows that demand, as measured by vehicle kilometres travelled by petrol and diesel cars, is price inelastic. The unemployment rate has had a negative impact on the demand for bus service. In addition, urban design has an impact on the use of public transport.

Research team: Selena Sheng, Basil Sharp

Congestion pricing

A recent report says that congestion in Auckland is now well above that of comparable cities and is increasing exponentially. Economic cost is around $NZ1 billion and is likely to increase with population growth. Congestion pricing, i.e. charging network users during periods of peak demand, is an option. An experimental study of congestion pricing is estimating commuters' route-choice behaviour, given public transport alternatives and a range of congestion prices.

Research Team: Selena (Mingyue) Sheng, Addison (Siwen) Pan

Electric vehicles

More than 80 percent of electricity is generated from renewable sources, and there is ample supply for widespread adoption of EVs. There is sufficient generation capacity to charge EVs provided the majority are charged at off-peak times. EVs reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and also reduce emissions, provided electricity is generated from renewable sources. Over 10,000 EVs are registered in New Zealand, and the government is aiming to reach 64,000 by the end of 2021. This research provides estimates of factors influencing the uptake of EVs, including the spatial distribution of charging stations.
Research team: Selena (Mingyue) Sheng, Basil Sharp

Electric vehicles and inductive power technology

This research is part of a larger multidisciplinary project funded by the New Zealand government (MBIE Endeavour Fund). Inductive power transfer (IPT) is one of the fastest-evolving technologies in the development of electric vehicles (EVs). Dynamic charging of EVs involves charging the vehicle while in motion, without the need to stop the vehicle over the energised section. Advantages over traditional systems, including the elimination of recharging downtime and reducing battery range anxiety for extended travel distance, make this technology highly promising for practical roadway implementation. The goal of this research is to provide a range of cost estimates for studying its feasibility, and to demonstrate IPT roadways as a viable investment opportunity for potential investors, thereby preparing it for possible commercialisation.

Research Team: Selena (Mingyue) Sheng, Ajith Viswanath Sreenivasan, Basil Sharp, Douglas Wilson, Grant Covic 

Innovative infrastructure

This research is part of a larger multidisciplinary  project funded by the New Zealand government (MBIE Endeavour Fund), exploring the development of robust inductive power transfer pavement systems for electric vehicles. Electric vehicles (EVs) provide a substitute for conventional internal combustion engines (ICEs), thereby decarbonising the transport sector. With recent technological advancements in Dynamic Inductive Power Transfer (DIPT) system, EVs can be energised wirelessly by embedding a roadway charging network while  in motion. This study assesses the economic viability of a DIPT system for EVs through public–private partnership (PPP).

Research Team: Selena (Mingyue) Sheng, Ajith Viswanath Sreenivasan, Basil Sharp, Douglas Wilson, Prakash Ranjitkar