By: Agnetha de Sa, Peak Associate


Smart charging isn’t as transformative as predicted

In a new study published by Dr. Jonn Axsen, Associate Professor from SFU’s School of Resource and Environmental Management, Axsen and other researchers look at the way consumers recharge electric vehicles through the use of wind or solar power suppliers.

    Specifically, consumer behaviour in relation to smart charging, a tactic predicted to increase e-vehicle adoption by offering cheaper charging when renewable suppliers are used, was examined.  This method of charging was thought to be a game changer that would result in reduced transition costs, and thus increased adoption of electric vehicles.

     However, when reviewing the literature on the preferences and how consumers interact with electric vehicle infrastructure, Axsen and colleagues emphasized five insights relating to consumer adoption of electric vehicles.

     The first was having the ability to charge an electric vehicle at home is “the most important piece of infrastructure” needed to get consumers to use electric vehicles. The second factor for consumers is the usability of the charging stations, specifically the ease of use between different charging stations. The third factor was cost. The costs of using an electric vehicle “should be lower than the refuelling cost of conventional vehicles,” Axsen and colleagues state. Fourth, the number of charging stations needed for widespread adoption of electric vehicles is currently unclear. Lastly, since there aren’t a lot of electric vehicles currently in use, it is unclear as to how widespread adoption will impact electric grids. While the literature is limited for the use of smart charging, Axsen and colleagues found a paper that suggested that consumers “respond negatively to losing control of when their vehicle is charged.”


A tool that can reveal the cause of SIDS

Dr. Glen Tibbits from SFU’s Department of Biological Physiology and Kinesiology (BPK), along with lab members Laura Dewar, Sanam Shafaat Talab and Eric Lin, are developing a tool that can predict the cause of death in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) cases. The team has received $100,000 in funding from the Stem Cell Network to pursue the research as well as a $160,000 grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

    According to HealthLinkBC, while SIDS is rare, it is a common cause of death for babies aged between one and 12 months. There are no warning signs before SIDS occurs, and SIDS cases can be further complicated when the cause of death cannot be determined “through autopsies, toxicology, microbiology, X-ray and other analyses,” as Tibbits stated.

    The tool that is being developed by Tibbits and his lab members will be used to determine if the cause of death was sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in SIDS cases where the cause of death was unclear. SCA is the likely candidate since, as Tibbitts explained, “it has been theorized that fatal electrical disturbances in the heart are causal in autopsy-negative SIDS in up to 30 per cent of the cases.”

   In addition to confirming the cause of death, the tool can be used to reveal if “one or both parents and siblings may be harbouring a genetic mutation which is potentially lethal,” Tibbits explained. Appropriate intervention can then be carried out.

   Through his research, Tibbits aims to develop a “gold standard” protocol when determining if an infant whose death is ruled as SIDS was caused by a mutation related to SCA.

With files from Richmond News.