An electric vehicle with a replaceable battery pack is the newest addition to the fleet used by the University of Kansas Center for Sustainability for collecting recycling around campus.
Members of the KU EcoHawks, a student research program at the School of Engineering that focuses on developing innovative sustainable energy solutions for transportation and other areas of research, spent the 2013-2014 school year repairing a Global Electric Motorcar (GEM).
The work included replacing lead-acid batteries with a lithium iron battery pack that can be removed and easily replaced in a few minutes. The ability to swap batteries means there’s no downtime for the vehicle while the battery charges, the user just removes one battery and replaces it with another that’s already charged and ready to go.
The EcoHawks handed over the keys to the GEM to the Center for Sustainability on August 1. That group will use the vehicle to collect recycled materials from various campus buildings – while reducing the university’s carbon footprint in the process.
“It’s been an absolutely great project. We took a vehicle that no longer worked, and we’re handing over something that works great for their purposes,” said Matthew Choate, 2014 mechanical engineering graduate and member of the EcoHawks. “This shows the green initiative of KU and perfectly demonstrates what we strive for as KU EcoHawks.”