Manitoba Testing Electric Vehicle on U of W Campus

By Sarah Klein

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 25: A power cable from a vehicle charging station is seen plugged into the side of a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid August 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California. With sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars expected to increase in the coming years, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has set aside $5 million to increase the number of electric car charging stations to 5,000 around the Bay Area. There are currently 120 stations in the area. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A low-speed, electric utility vehicle will soon be roaming the campus of the University of Winnipeg after a new partnership between the university and the province was announced on Wednesday.

The U of W will test the vehicle for limited access to local streets and other vehicle and pedestrian traffic corridors. The unique vehicle has a top speed of 40 km/h, but does not meet Canadian motor vehicle safety standards, so testing must be done in a controlled setting.

Innovation, Energy and Mines Minister Dave Chomiak says the province is looking at regulations governing the use of such low-speed vehicles and the university setting provides the opportunity to demonstrate the vehicle’s use in a safe manner.

Besides the U of W partnership, the Manitoba government is also testing five plug-in hybrid Toyota Priuses.

In addition, there are 110 other hybrid vehicles in the fleet of vehicles the province owns and operates, compared to just 11 in 2005. These hybrid vehicles use a gas engine assisted by an electric motor.