Although a plug-in electric car has its advantages, some suppliers are betting that not all EV owners will want to plug in. Some, they say, will want to charge their cars wirelessly.
Today, the market for wireless car charging is small and moving slowly. A few manufacturers are working on internal projects, while others are talking with suppliers. Still, one study from RnRMarketResearch.com predicts rapid adoption of the technology, with total market size reaching $4.6 billion by 2019. ”We’re talking to a lot of auto manufacturers right now who are interested in the technology,” Lacy Heiberger, marketing manager for Evatran, told Design News.
We’ve collected photos and graphics of some of the newest charging pads for electric vehicle batteries, along with a couple systems targeted at charging of consumer devices in the car. From suppliers large and small, we offer a peek at what’s coming.
Click on the photo below to start the slideshow.
The Plugless system from Evatran uses inductive technology to transfer power wirelessly. When the Parking Pad on the ground aligns with the Vehicle Adaptor (installed on the vehicle’s undercarriage) the system awakens and automatically transfers energy across an air gap at power level consistent with those of a Level 2 charger. (Source: Evatran)
TJ, you have a point. In a wireless device, the plugging in is not a real hassle. With a wireless charger for a cell phone, for example, you still have to plug in the charger. The overhead is large in percentage terms.
For a car, it is not quite the same. The overhead in your own garage is similar. I am assuming you are going to want a higher voltage, dedicated charger. The overhead in the home is similar, but the overhead on the vehicle is less. Plugging in, in either case, is not as big a deal, but perhaps there are situations where wireless is going to be desirable. Time will tell.
I think the hold-up in EVs right now, TJ, is that automakers are trying to focus their development efforts on the core EV technologies. They've already got their hands full with battery development, and I don't think they want to split the EV pie up into too many pieces.
Some standards would be nice. The unleaded gasoline nozzle at any gas station is going to fit the fill port on any vehicle. There's no competition between auto manufacturers for this bit of infrastructure.
The same needs to happen with the technologies associated with electric vehicles. There's no way I'm going to stand for two different types of non-contact charger just because I have two different makes of vehicle in my driveway.
We have the J1772 plug in standard and SAE Combo for DC quick charging. Stop and smell the Roses , that is enough variety. We Just don't don't need wireless EV charging. Like I have said to the ones who want the car driven by a computer, instead just hire a Chaufer and make a job for a homeless unemployed person and for less than the $50,000 per year for a computerized self driving car.
To create a wireless interface there has to be an on-board energy receiver and on exterior energy transmitter. In both instances LARGE amounts of energy are required to be transfered. In the case of overnight charging the transfer rate can be low but for on-the-road 'fill-ups' the charging rate must be frighteningly high. In both cases the on-board component for wireless charging will be of significant physical size and mass. This is counterproductive to the present market environment of small, lightweight vehicles. I expect that this wirless charging concept will not flourish but rather fissel out completely in favour of rapid charge stations with quick disconnects of very fat wires with stringent safety approvals to avoid shock and flashover.
The reason wireless charging hasn't taken off for phones and other devices is the inefficiency of charging through the air. The efficiency rating of wireless charging is between 10 and 20 percent. That's something we can live with for a phone, but certainly not a car. The cost of the electricity to recharge a car multiplied by at least 5 becomes unacceptable, and the MPGe calculations go out the window.
Wireless Charging is cool, but absolutely unnecessary. Plugging in your car takes 10 seconds. As much as an EV advocate as I am, I don't see this taking off. Plus, some drivers might end up spending more time aligning their vehicle with the wireless charger than just plugging the darn thing in!
I agree with ChriSharek. As a fellow EV advocate and Volt owner, this is a solution in search of a problem. Get home, step out of the car, plug it in. To leave, unplug it, open the door, get in. 10 seconds is generous.
I agree with you, Watashi. Yes, some people are very lazy. And yes, I don't want to drive on the same roads with them (have you ever noticed how many people recline their driver's seat WHILE they are driving?). Unfortuntely, though, they'll always be there.
I just bought a new Jeep Cherokee that has a wireless phone charger in the center console. I still think it a waste and question the people who want it. However I have received priority tasking from my wife to find her a Qi charging receiver for her Galaxie SIII phone. I guess 'those' people are closer to me than I thought.
God forbid your cat wearing a collar (metal buckle) might haplessly wander between the energy transfer gap. Not only would it get an unwanted MRI, but the buckle would keep them impailed on the charging disk.
None of the touts can claim any real benefit for wireless charging except for convenience. One very seldom sees any mention of efficiency at all, and the last time I did see a description of efficiency it was all in terms that were very hard to follow. But we all know that a direct connection is usually at least 99% efficient. One other concern has been that some folks would have a problem figuring out how to plug in a vehicle. Those people should not even be allowed to drive any car, if their understanding of things in general is that poor. An EVG is an option, it is certainly not an entitlement. Nor should it ever be one.
This is just another example of the desire for convenience driving an untenable solution. The poor efficiency and safety issues have already been addressed. It just seems everyone is unhappy with anything that has a cable attached. It must be like a leash to us freedom-loving humans.
I think the manufacturere already have the plugs about as simple as they can be, as people shouldn't have to be engineers, either to drive an electric car. I think there is a standard for plugs in the works, if not already out there.
The only practical way to get efficiencies anywhere near the same as a wired power source, the stationary and vehicle coils need to mechanically line up and come together, This is doable, but will take some work. The other solution would be a set of ohmic contacts that make when you drive the vehicle onto or over them. This has some interesting engineering challenges associated with it, but could offer wired efficiency. Efficiency is going to be key to making electric vehicles truly 'green'.
The biggest problem with electric cars is still battery issues-- limited range, battery life, and inital cost. If EVs had enough range to get me around for about a week without a full charge, and cost what I can afford in payments, I would have one already.
I view this as being in the same category as power windows, door locks and maybe even garage door openers. For many years, I could never imagine why I would need a power window or a power door lock. Or even a garage door opener, since I am physically able to do all those things without help. Somehow, though, all of those things have crept into my life, even though I never asked for them (my wife did want the garage door opener). The power door locks and power windows just came with the car I bought. They're standard. My point is that someone apparently wants these luxuries and they just end up being part of our lives. I think it will be a long wait for wireless car charging, but when plug-in cars take off, wireless charging probably won't be far behind.
When driving BIG trucks (Semi) often the driver's window has a crank but the passenger window is electric so we can listen for the train at "Grade Crossings" and usually we are driving alone. Similarly electric mirror adjustments allows a better view when backing up. Door locks are better security for keeping unwanted riders in the truck cab. Electric garage doors increase home security as you won't let the "Bad Element" inside. But why don't they put a spout on the pump and a fuel inlet port on the top of the front fender to refuel your petrol ?
Wireless charging? We waited for many years before the fire-marshalls decided we could pump our own gas into our car, now you feel drivers would prefer to wait an hour to charge instead of pluging in a single plug that is standardized already. Open a little door, plug in and walk away, it is much easier than a "Jump Start for a dead starting battery" and the first picture (Or second ) says the interface tells the car it is plugged in.. But, if the EV is plugged it it won't start, (Safety regulations require that!) So how to unplug a car that is just sitting above the wireless unit? (These descriprions are often erroneous...) Also out of eleven slides about five were for wireless charging your phone not the car? When are they going to make all the appliances in the home wireless? I tire of buying "AA" batteries for my moustash trimmer. One commenter complained of recharging more than once a week? They must only buy fuel on saturday? My car charges at night when I am home parked in my garage or carport plugging in the car takes seconds. I only visit the fuel retailer when I need a gallon of milk. (That is usually on Saturday. For those who need asistance with plugging their car in I have recomended that nicer places should offer Valet Parking with Recharging as part of the service. A lot of advantages there and few drawbacks. Would you pay $2 to be parked and recharged for 1/2 to one hour then have the car brought around to the exit of the grocery store or Mall? Now that is convenience, think about at the clinic, Hospital, Theater, or Restaurant...
This is all nice and good and for sure technically feasible. BUT, what are the potential health effects of the leakage energy, which is significant when we are talking about 10kW RF transmitter, like some of the systems mentioned here. Should we not conduct very thorough studies on that and allow these systems to be sold and used only if it was conlcusively proven by INDEPENDENT studies that it is harmless to human health? If we find out that these wireless charger systems are dangerous to our health after many are in operation (the probability of which is quite high in my opinion) then it will be much more diffcult to ban them against the finacial interests of the manufacturers and their well funded lobbies. For once we should plan ahead and do this right. I do not belive that this is too much to ask for.
I agree simonts this should be one of the major concerns, before launching the technology. There are definitely side effects of wireless charging that are mostly ignored in many applications. But as they are incorporating it in to automobiles, that means larger size which also means greater radiations. Thus, It would be totally meaningless to ignore its effects on health. I hope they make substantial amount of research in this area and adopt some preventive measures on it.
Simonts--This is one thought I had also. I have a good friend who has just had a pacemaker installed and several with hearing aids. It would be very desirable to find out what effects the wireless charging devices have, if any, on "hardware" such as pacemakers, hearing aids, TENS units, pumps, etc. etc. I am sure the manufacturers have thought of this and hopefully there are standards governing the use of these devices. One other thing, the receiving unit seems to be mounted under the rear of the car so, what resulting ground clearance are we talking about? Great post Charles.
The issue of undesirable heath effects is still up for grabs and will of course depend on how much of that radiated power is NOT recovered. None of the power that goes into charging the batteries is a problem, but all of the lost power could certainly be a problem.
BUT as the proponents of wireless charging of all kinds of things keep teling us how wonderful it is, THEY NEVER EVER TALK ABOUT ACTUAL EFFICIENCY, except possibly in some of the most confusing doubl-speak that I have ever come across. A Normal expression of efficiency, power out / power in is all that I am asking for and that should not be so very challenging to calculate. My feeling is that the efficiency is so very poor that it would kill the idea without any additional discussion. So my suggestion is that until the wireless charging sales people are willing to give actual numbers in standard units, that they be regarded as just plain liars. There is no way to make a problem go away just by refusing to talk about it. We need to see actual , reproducable, numbers to back up all those claims about it being so wonderful.
This "new" invention comes out every few months. Got to swat this thing out of existence. Let's repeat this again: No! No! No! Is that clear. The original GM EV1 had a non-contact charge paddle. Even that was only about 80% efficiency. It was horrible. The entire purpose of electric vehicle is efficiency. Here you are loosing at least a third before even getting to the car. WHY? This does not make sense. Don't even start down this road. Unfortunately, you got people who are dazzled by another "new" technology.
The big question is will it be accepted to waste 20% of the 20 KWH or so that is to be recharged into the battery? And who will make that decision? And if they can mandate improved efficiency for those little wall-warts then why not for the big car charging packages? My belief is that those making the laws are far separated from reality and understanding and that they don't see any problem with misleaing presentations.
Somebody somehow needs to present some rational reasoning here.
It will either become outlawed or people will realize the inefficiency of this process and quit using it. There are always optimists that are looking to make a quick buck off of lazy people. With phones I guess it's acceptable because of the low amount of energy exchanging hands but with a car where thousands of kWh is drawn I would consider a more efficient way.
E007, Lazy or "luxury"? Or just plain not competent enough to be able to get the car plugged in correctly. There is a whole class of people unable to change a light bulb without getting it cross-threaded. And anothe bunch of people who see no problem at all with that. The lack of any skill and understanding is quite likely what will bring about the end of our great country, which while true is certainly a terrible way to go.
Very True William K our schools today cater to the average idiot not to the average genius. Too easy is making a lot of people believe that knowing very little is ok. In reality it leads to poverty and many other things including one paying more than 10 dollars for a system that links the grid to your car??? I mean really a wire can do the job and a plug why bother with electronics that you don't understand how they work???? Tech like this makes me laugh most of the time.
e-007, the belief that there is no need to understand anything does not make me laugh, but rather feel like the clowns are running the asylum, or worse. It is a quite uncomfortable feeling that I am not respected at all for my engineering knowledge and talents, while some punk who dresses to the latest fad gets all of the aclaim, and a lot more income, which really offends me, by the way.
Right now I am seeing problems brought on by others ignoring my requests to do things differently than they had in the past. I would like to tell them "I TOLD you so", but the problems are here and real and that would not do any good. Of course, I did not press the issue back then because after being told I didn't know what I was talking about so many times I developed an attitude that I would let them "put thier hands in the fire."
The old line seems to be true: "You can't fix stupid." What a pity.
This is where the technology needs to go. If charging is ubiquitously everywhere, electric cars will predominate for most transportation needs that are not continuous duration, long haul. People are just stuck in the paradigm that they have to go to a gas station to fill up their fuel. If every time they parked their car began to charge wirelessly, it would destroy the paradigm the dirty fossil fuels industry relies on to convince shallow thinkers that combustion engines are the best most cost effective technology. I find people in America still believe the price of a gallon of gas is what they pay at the pump; they never consider the costs hidden in the military being used to defend the fossil fuels industry, as well as that hidden in the dangerous environmental effects fossil fuel use is demonstrably having on the environment. As usual some fools are happy with the fossil fuels industry privatizing their profits and and socializing their costs.
If the government believes that they are right in mandating efficiency increases in those very small "wall-wart" devices then I certainly hope that the same sort of rules wind up being made to apply to the wireless charging systems, which are terribly inefficient. But it seems that the glamerous thing gets away with whatever it wishes to do.
And still there does not seem to be much discussion on the potential bad effects delivered by that energy radiated that does not make it into the targeted battery system.
Once again, truth is missing.
And if an individual is so very inconvenienced by plugging in to charge, then my evaluation is that probably they don't even deserve to drive any car.
AND here is another concern not previously discussed, which is that if charging commences whenever the vehicle would be parked it will only be a few hours before some much less honorable individuals establish some very expensive charging points, and rob the poor unsuspecting drivers with very high charging fees. And how will a driver know what they are being charged until the bill arrives. So there you have the ultimate fault of wireless charging systems. So those "dirty" fossile fuels will be replaced by the chance to be robbed every time one parks their vehicle. Not quite a fair trade, I don't believe. But definitely a potential consequence of what the unthinking believe to be a good idea.
Possibly the subject is boring, but it would be quite an accomplishment if somebody did come up with a much more efficient wireless charging system. Say, at least 95% of the input power sent to the battery charger.
But now I have a different idea, which is that since the big problem is the inconvenience of plugging in that monster connector, how about a simple direct contact connection? Use the front bumper as the charging power connector: split the two bumper halves with an insulator and then have a spring loaded post in front of each side, far apart enough o make touching both unlikely. After contact is made then the system does an "electronic handshake" to verify that it is a car needing charging that is present, then switch on the power. At the end of the charge the car tells the controller that charging is done, and the power switches off. Of course there would be exposed electrical contacts, but only the stupidest 10% would electrocute themselves, the rest would know to stay away from live circuits. There would be no engineering breakthrough needed, only an adjustment to the laws so that stupidity would not be rewarded. And the connection efficiency would certainly be better than 98%. And it would be simpler and cheaper than a magnetic syst6em.
How many cars could be charged at an EV lane at a light, and how would the billing for the energy delivered be handled? And how in the world would thie sysmptom of the driver asleep at the light be solved? Plus, who would pay for that huge amount of infrastructure? While some things might impress the emotions as "good ideas" the secondary implications indicate otherwise. All ideas need to be consided more carefully in order to avoid unhappy unintended consequences.
A well-known automotive consultant who did an extensive teardown of BMW’s i3 all-electric car said its design is groundbreaking in multiple ways. “We’ve torn down about 450 cars, and we’ve never analyzed anything like this before.”
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