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EVs to play vital role in measuring pollution risk in Leicester

The project, run by the Air Quality Group at the University of Leicester along with Cenex, the UK’s First Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell technologies, will also see charging posts installed at the university.

As part of the project, the University of Leicester has designed and installed special sensors into Smart Fortwo Electric Drive vehicles to enable measurement of pollutant concentrations around the city. The information from these sensors will provide insight into the quality of the air we inhale in polluted urban areas.

Dr Roland Leigh from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester, who is leading the project, said: ‘Electric vehicles are part of the solution to urban air quality issues. A mobile air quality monitoring platform, such as a specially designed electric car, is highly valuable to the scientific study of urban air quality.

‘By monitoring air quality as a seamless part of our daily transport system, we are providing a cost-effective way to help inform future policy and operational systems.’

A charging point for the Cenex-branded smart EVs will be installed on the University’s campus as a pilot study. The objective is to encourage and facilitate future uptake of EVs by staff and students. Additional charging points will be installed on the university’s campus in the future.

Tim Yates, deputy director of estates in the Estates and Facilities Management Division at the University of Leicester, said: ‘These points will be the first of several across the University campus and as the take-up of electric vehicles increases, so the demand for charging points will also increase. The wider availability of charging points means more people will consider buying an electric vehicle.’

He added that the university already uses six electric vehicles in its business fleet and it is looking to expand this over the next year or two as the pressure to reduce carbon emissions increases along with the need to seek savings in fleet fuel costs.

The research has received funding from the Natural Environment Research Council’s Knowledge Exchange budget.

Natalie Middleton

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