KUALA LUMPUR: Ten local universities showed off their sleek battery-powered electronic vehicles during the Proton Green Mobility Challenge (PGMC) 2012 at the Sepang International Circuit yesterday.
PGMC 2012 co-chairman Associate Professor Dr Mohd Azman Zainul Abidin said the challenge was aimed at invigorating participation in research and development of green technology in the automotive industry.
"We believe that scouting for talent to pursue green technology is the first step.
"Through PGMC, undergraduates, postgraduates, teaching and technical staff are groomed and exposed to the growing technology of green vehicles."
Azman said the programme was initiated to complement government initiatives to bring down carbon dioxide emissions by 40 per cent by 2020, and to support the National Green Technology Policy.
"There is strong commitment from participating universities and I'm glad to see that the teams aren't here just to compete, but to also raise awareness on moving towards green technology," he said.
Agensi Inovasi Malaysia senior vice-president (innovation accelerator) Dr Wong Siaw Ming said this was one of the agency's initiatives to build an innovation ecosystem.
"We are promoting the collaboration between the academia, the industry and the government to bring forward innovation to create wealth for the rakyat."
Wong said this programme was a push factor for the nation to move away from normal vehicles and hoped that PGMC would become an annual event.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia team leader Dr Wan Mohd Faizal Wan Mahmood said PGMC was a platform for academicians, technicians and students to get involved in the green vehicle industry.
"To us, it is a long-term project. We will continue developing our electric vehicle and work on improvements even after the challenge is over.
"Thankfully, our university is supportive and I hope that we can continue to move forward in this line."
The UKM team, named "Ice Terminator", was made up of 30 members comprising lecturers, postgraduates, undergraduates and technicians.
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) final-year Master's degree student Low Wen Yao, 26, developed the university's car battery system.
"Our car, 'UTM EVOLT', needs about four hours of charge time to hit full battery level.
"We have to be careful not to overcharge it as the battery will burn and will not be useable," he said, adding that the distance the car can travel depended on how long the battery is charged for.
"I believe green car technology is the future and this is the time for our generation to develop it," he said.
PGMC is jointly organised by Proton Holdings Bhd and Agensi Inovasi Malaysia, a statutory body set up by the government.
The four focus areas in the challenge are farthest distance, quarter mile acceleration, fastest time for two laps and maximum velocity.
The other universities that qualified for PGMC 2012 were Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Spanish Institute, Universiti Malaysia Perlis, International Islamic University Malaysia and Universiti Selangor.