The Participatory Science Platform supports collaborative projects that bring together communities and scientists or technologists on research investigating a locally-important question or problem.
Flip the Fleet, a people-powered study on how electric vehicles perform in New Zealand, has been selected as a finalist in the 2017 Sustainable Business Network Awards.
The project now sits alongside some seriously big players, including New Zealand Post, Mercury and Auckland Transport, in the running to win the Smarter Transport category of the awards.
“We’ve put a tonne of work into Flip the Fleet for the last year, on a gut-feel that we’re doing the right thing,” says Dima Ivanov at PowerStats, who runs the project with Henrik Moller, an ecologist at Otago University’s Centre for Sustainability.
“Having it chosen as a finalist confirms that the selection panel thinks that we are doing the right thing and that our project has impact. It’s easy for Henrik and me to think we’re doing well – so it’s very rewarding to know that other people think we’re doing well too!”
Flip the Fleet aims to have 1000 electric vehicle (EV) owners uploading and exploring data about electric vehicle performance, such as cost to run and mileage per battery charge. So far over 330 have already registered their EVs with the project, which is supported by the Otago Participatory Science Platform.
The study is the first of its kind and will help paint a more realistic picture of how EVs perform in New Zealand, since potential EV buyers currently have to make decisions using less relevant data from overseas. It will also reveal over time whether these vehicles cost New Zealanders less effort and money as well as being greener than petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicles.
“It’s great to see 'people power' being recognised amongst leading businesses in working towards a sustainable New Zealand,” Henrik says. “For me, it’s been a satisfying journey to turn ordinary electric vehicle owners into an army of citizen scientists, to help speed up the switch to smarter transport for us all.”
The winners of the Sustainable Business Network Awards will be announced on Thursday 30 November.