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)
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.
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.
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!
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.
Tesla Motors’ $35,000, 200-mile electric car may not revolutionize the auto industry by itself, but it could serve as a starting point for a long, steady climb to a day when half of the world’s vehicles will be plug-ins.
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