Sustainable Mobility

By Sushma Veera

Melbourne, Oct 8: Light passenger and commercial vehicles account for 61 per cent of transport emissions and more than 11 per cent of all Australian greenhouse gas emissions.
Realising the need for a positive social change, Monash PhD candidate Julian O’Shea knows sustainable, smaller vehicles are the way of the future, and is promoting sustainable transport through adventure.
As part of his doctoral studies with Monash Arts, Design and Architecture, O’Shea designed and built a solar powered tuk tuk.
Travelling at just 50km per hour, O’Shea and his team drove the tuk tuk on a zero-emission road trip from Melbourne to Great Barrier Reef.
The trip made him realise how novelty could bring attention to eco-vehicles and inspire sustainable lifestyle decisions, and further inspired O’Shea to design a series of sustainable scooters and bikes.
“I realised how deliberately doing something that’s quirky and different can attract attention while showing how sustainable vehicles work.
“These vehicles are a tool to connect with people about things like sustainability and how we move in climate change.”
O’Shea added that people are already starting to engage with new forms of transport.
“You’re not going to replace the car in all forms, for all trips, but I think for many Australians the best second car is a micro-vehicle. We don’t always need a one tonne piece of metal to move one 68kg human,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not deter O’Shea who turned to social media to get his message across, making educational content through short videos on Youtube and TikTok.
His act caught the attention of the State Library Victoria and was awarded a $20,000 grant to develop a creative concept that draws on the library’s vast collection.
Besides designing sustainable vehicles, Julian is also a semi-finalist in the 2021 Asia-Pacific Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. 
Much like Julian’s work, the global competition challenges participants to showcase complex topics in an engaging way, easily understood by a general audience. 

Check out this explainer video on O’Shea’s work which was recorded by ABC on Dec 7, 2018.

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