The Future of Wireless Car Charging
Thanks to unstable gas prices, Electric Vehicles have come to the forefront of the efficient motoring scene. No longer dependant on foreign oil, EV owners are able to go about their daily commute, gas & emissions free. Charging an EV has always required a plug, tethered to a grid-wired charger. But that’s about to change…
One of the biggest drawbacks to an electric vehicle is, the plug. Every time you park it, you’ve got to plug it in. Otherwise, you’ll be walking to work. Now it’s not a complicated process mind you. Pop the charge door, grab the plug, and viola! But after a long day, the last thing you want to do when you get home is wrestle with a cord…again.
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Americans like ‘easy’. Face it, we do. That’s why massive companies like Siemens & Delphi are developing wireless charging technology that will virtually eliminate the hassle of charging your EV. Simply pull into your garage, or into a specially outfitted parking space, and your EV will begin charging itself automatically.
The way it works is pretty simple. A mat embedded with an electrical coil sits underneath the electric vehicle. When sensors detect the presence of an EV, its source coil begins carrying electricity, which causes a magnetic field to emanate from the EV charging pad. This causes the coil in the car to send out opposing magnetic waves, which allows electricity to flow wirelessly between the two coils. Because of this sort of magnetic coupling, your EV doesn’t have to be positioned directly over the coil in the charging pad. A foot to the left, a few feet behind, it doesn’t matter because the magnetic field coming from the pad will find the pickup coil in the car.
Now those of you that did well in science class will recognize that there will probably be a bit of ‘leakage’ between the two coils. But special manufacturing techniques have increased the electrical transfer efficiency to 95%. So the 3.3 kWh magnetic induction EV charging pad will be able to charge your EV at the same rate as a standard 240v home charging dock.
Wireless EV charging will be the next phase of mainstreaming the EV. When customers become able to eliminate the entire vehicle refueling process, more people will be willing to adopt electric transportation. But in order for that to happen, more wireless charging infrastructure has to be put into place and tax incentives must be available.
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Siemens, and Stanford University are currently working on ways to embed charging coils into the road itself. This will allow EV drivers to actually charge their cars, while driving in specially equipped charging lanes. But that’s many years away from happening. The wireless EV charging pads however, should start coming to market in the next couple of years.