Sunday, June 26, 2016

The All-Electric Car You Never Plug In. Wireless power transmission would let EVs draw their power from the road

I think this is the future of travel.
Here’s a big reason: Picture the driver of that same car getting a call from a relative living far away who needs immediate help. Suddenly, the driver’s eyes become riveted on the most important indicator on the dashboard: the estimated number of kilometers that the car can go on the remaining battery charge. Will he make it to his relative’s house? Even if he does, will he find a charging station so he can get back home?

There’s a name for this modern misgiving: range anxiety, a new form of disquiet experienced by drivers of all-electric cars. The Nissan Leaf, for example, can be driven on the highway for only about 120 kilometers on a single charge, and fully charging up its batteries takes 8 hours or more.

But maybe there’s a way to relieve this fear forever and make drivers’ lives much easier as well. If we embed transmitting coils in roadways, electric cars carrying receiving coils could charge themselves as they zoom down the road. An e-car owner would never have to search for a charging station or plug in the car. That is the goal of our research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), in Daejeon, which has developed what we call the on-line electric vehicle (OLEV) system.


Researchers around the world have begun applying this principle over the past decade. In 2007, MIT professors caught the world’s attention by powering a lightbulb suspended in space, 2 meters away from the transmitting coil. Those researchers went on to found a Massachusetts start-up, WiTricity Corp., which is working with several auto companies on wireless charging stations for household garages. Quebec’s Bombardier is developing its Primove system in Europe to transmit power to public buses and trams. 

Here's a video of the Seoul City Park Tram:

Witricity's work isn't nearly so ambitious, but...still amazing.  Maybe they are trying to capitalize small, then build from there:

Found this article about my home state, South Carolina.
At least two universities are testing or preparing to test wireless charging stations embedded along roadways that will incrementally recharge vehicles as they drive over them.

Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) in Greenville, S.C., has been testing stationary wireless vehicle charging and is now preparing to test mobile wireless recharging for vehicles.

Clemson's R&D project is backed in part by a multimillion-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and is in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Toyota, Cisco and other companies.

The university's stationary wireless charging technology uses magnetic resonance to create a field between a ground charging coil and a copper coil embedded in a vehicle through which electricity can pass. Key to the technology is the Wi-Fi communications system, created by researchers at Oak Ridge that allows the ground and vehicle charging systems to talk to one another.

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