EV Charging Without Wires

One of the perceived problems with electric vehicles is that they have to be plugged in.

One of the perceived problems with electric vehicles is that they have to be plugged in.

Imagine.

Anyway, there is considerable work going on to find the ways and means to conveniently charge the cars wirelessly.

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And one of the first facilities where vehicle manufacturers and others can test their wireless tech is at the International Transportation Innovation Center (ITIC) in Greenville, South Carolina, where a test bed, which passed a formal project review by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, has been developed through an academic-government-industry partnership. (Which just goes to show you how much work is involved in this development.)

Specifically, the wireless charging test bed was developed by the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) with the collaboration of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), ITIC, Toyota, Cisco, Duke Energy, and Evatran.

The way it worked: ORNL received an $8.1-million grant from the Dept. of Energy in 2013. It, in turn, contracted with CU-ICAR for the development of the grid- and vehicle-side communication system for wireless charging (and the potential impact of electromagnetic fields).

CU-ICAR partnered with ITIC for a physical test bed.

Evantran integrated the coil systems and power electronics developed by ORNL into Toyota-supplied test vehicles. Cisco worked with CU-ICAR on communication radios. Duke Energy provided both the grid connectivity and the power supply infrastructure.

Yes, a lot has gone into this.

In the first test, one of the two Toyota vehicles was tested at a power transfer rate of 6.9-kilowatts; an overall efficiency greater than 85% was achieved.

Stationary charging requires that a vehicle is located above a charging pad.

So to make this even simpler, there’s in-motion wireless charging that they’re also pursuing. They’re working on a mile-long straightaway at the ITIC facility that will support wireless charging at power levels up to 250-kilowatts.

Which, if deployed, could not only alleviate but possibly eliminate the range anxiety common among EV drivers.