Making the commute from Milton to Toronto on his electric car was not a new experience for Adil Hanif, an MBA student at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management, until he realized that he could not park anywhere on campus where he could plug his car while in class.
Most electric vehicle owners are familiar with the predicament of having to search for appropriate parking, and then trekking it to their destination. Adil decided to take matters into his own hands, instead working to bring chargers into Ryerson facilities.
Joining Net Impact Ryerson, a student-run chapter of MBA students promoting better business practices, Adil proposed to independently take on a project to facilitate the introduction of electric vehicle chargers to Ryerson parking facilities, starting with 300 Victoria Street, a central location on campus.
He partnered with Ryerson Business Services and Plug n’ Drive, a non-profit organization focusing on accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles for economic and environmental benefit, to gather relevant research, secure funding, and formulate a proposal. Adil’s proposal was approved in full with construction set to start in late March or early April 2014, with facilities available towards summer.
We had a chance to speak with Adil about the project, the experience, and his plans for the future:
What inspired you to pursue the project?
I was inspired by my own frustration, really. Not being able to charge my car on campus was a barrier in my transportation plan from Milton to Toronto. So I took action. I wanted to do something on campus that would have a lasting impact. This charging initiative has the potential to benefit countless generations of students and faculty.
Given the number of stakeholders in this project, how was your experience navigating conversations with the different parties?
Plug n’ Drive were amazing to deal with – their breadth of knowledge was essential in providing the most up to date and accurate data in the industry. Ryerson Business Services were very receptive to the idea from the very beginning. They needed me to conduct the bulk of the research because most of their resources were tied up with the opening of the new Student Learning Centre. Once I presented them with the proposal, they were thrilled and decided to put the plan into action.
Seeing that you own an electric vehicle and have done a significant amount of research on the subject through the duration of this project, what do you see happening in the EV space in the future?
The available data indicates that the EV adoption rate is growing at nearly 300% annually. As more people understand the benefits of this technology, it will no longer remain a “niche” segment of the market. However, there is always the ‘chicken and the egg’ issue. Is more infrastructure needed before widespread adoption? Or will infrastructure be built as more people buy the vehicles?
I am of the belief that infrastructure needs to be in enough visible locations that potential consumers feel comfortable in buying an electric vehicle knowing that they will not be stranded or run out of charge.
Seeing how much enthusiasm you show for the topic, is this a field you will be pursuing in the future?
Next for me? Finishing my degree while continuing to educate all who will listen to the benefits of this technology, as well as other sustainable choices. For example, the provincial government’s microFIT program, which is designed to produce clean solar energy for the grid. This is accomplished by having solar panels installed free-of-charge on the roof of a residence.
I would also like to work in the renewable and sustainable energy sector, but the area is relatively small, despite the rapid growth, and jobs are difficult to secure.
Thanks Adil, you have us listening, and surely others will follow!
About Adil Hanif
Adil Hanif is an MBA student at the Ted Rogers School of Management specializing in the management of technology and innovation. He has a keen interest in renewable and sustainable energy initiatives and how these emerging technologies will shape future business practices. You can reach Adil through LinkedIn at ca.linkedin.com/pub/adil-hanif/8b/31b/2b2/en.