Electric Vehicles, Renewables, Research, Transition to Renewables

Melbourne student’s EV invention announced in global award shortlist

Australian student Alexander Burton’s electric vehicle retrofit solution has been shortlisted in the global top 20 inventions as part of the 2023 James Dyson Award.

The RMIT student invented the REVR retrofit kit that converts internal combustion engines in vehicles to hybrid electric. It has already won the national 2023 James Dyson Award and is in line for worldwide recognition in the global engineering award that calls on students and recent graduates to create a design that solves a problem.

“Climate change highlights how heavily we rely on cars that now need to be made electric,” says Burton.

“Replacing the entire fleet with new EVs will be too slow, too expensive and will emit billions of tons of CO2 during their manufacture.

“Approaching this problem with modern motor technology has led me to a new approach to retrofits, which I’ve named REVR.

“This is a powerful electric retrofit kit that can be quickly installed in the wheels of almost any vehicle.”

British inventor and industrial designer Sir James Dyson will select the global winner from the top 20 shortlist, with the announcement to be made on 15 November, 2023. The winner will receive $50,000 to support the next stage of their invention.

The 14 Dyson engineers forming the panel for this year’s top 20 work across Dyson research and development centres in Singapore, UK, Malaysia and Philippines.

They specialise in engineering fields including sustainability, electronics, manufacturing, acoustics and energy storage.

“The James Dyson Award provides a platform for young inventors to showcase their innovative ideas on a global stage,” says Hong Fei Hu, head of electronics at Dyson.

“It was refreshing to see so many inventions offering solutions ranging across medicine and sustainability.”

To make the top 20 shortlist, entrants need to convey a deep understanding of how their invention works and the impact it will have on its industry.

“The inventor needs to demonstrate they really understand how their idea will work,” says Rachael Pink, head of technology development at Dyson.

“They need to show they have thought about how their idea can be realised in a robust way and that it will stand up to the challenges it will face in use.

“Some of the best entries demonstrate they failed along their design process, but learnt from these failures and made their designs even better.”

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