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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Volkswagen AG is developing a lithium-air battery that could triple the range of its electric cars, but industry experts believe it could be a long time before that chemistry is ready for production vehicles.
California’s plan to mandate an electric vehicle market isn’t the first such undertaking and certainly won’t be the last. But as the Golden State ratchets up for its next big step toward zero-emission vehicle status in 2018, it might be wise to consider a bit of history.
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