June 23, 2021

Windsor engineering professor praised for studies on electric cars

By awarding him a research chair in Tier 1, Narayan Kar, University of Windsor engineering professor was acknowledged by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada as being among the leading electric car experts globally. The nomination provides $200,000 of annual funding from the federal administration for the next 7 years for the Kar’s electric motor as well as propulsion development program, with a choice to continue it for another seven years. Kar, who previously occupied a Tier II chair that was worth $100,000 yearly for EV evaluation, stated, “It’s a massive acknowledgement for us.”

The CRC status provides support, but it also draws attention to the University of Windsor and increases corporate engagement in our studies. “As a result of this acknowledgement, because the University of Windsor is respected as specialists, those that are involved in advanced EV research will come to us.” Kar and his fellow researchers have already developed tremendous popularity for the Electric Vehicles project which has gained the interest of the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the Tier 1 suppliers as well as government partners.

Kar’s team secured $4.3 million in investment this last summer to produce a new generation electric motor by the year 2025. With private sector members Nemak Corp., Ford Motor Co. and D&V Electronics investing $2.4 million, the university received $1.9 million from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Kar stated that the new money is going to help speed up his studies. “The research work is going well, and as a team, we are optimistic that we will have a model ready for testing process in the year 2023 and have it in an on-road vehicle in the year 2025,” Kar stated.

The funding would also allow some new workers and help create a research network outside the university, Kar continued. Kar added, “It will enable us to build teams as well as partnerships.” “We should go for bigger grants.”  This helps them pull together business, academics and government to solve challenges more broadly and productively. A multi-disciplinary approach can tackle challenges much easier and faster. The importance of such outside-the-box thought, Kar said, was an example of getting students from St. Clair College into his research facility.

The students have been involved in the college’s hands-on methodology and have provided valuable insight into solving problems due to various perspectives. “We are training as well as coaching the next generation of scientists for electric cars as well as environmental considerations, one of the major issues we do in this investigation,” Kar added. This chair allows us to draw students to the crème-of-the-crème due to their recognition of the curriculum. “With around 100 automakers, several OEMs, Ford as well as FCA having both local research and development facilities, and the Automotive Research and Education Centre of the University, we believe we ought to be the University of the Automotive Industry.”