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)
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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