• May 5, 2011

Wireless charging of plug-in vehicles is to become standard, says Laura Marlino, deputy director at the power electronics and electrical power systems research center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Marlino told Automotive Power Electronics conference-goers that, "We believe it's not a matter of if, but when wireless charging will be in all [plug-in] vehicles."

Marlino says that Oak Ridge, along with automakers and suppliers, has developed and tested technology that passes a 5-kW charge across a 10-inch gap of air with more than 90 percent efficiency. Inductive charging will dominate due to convenience, says Marlino.
Think of a mother of three children coming back from shopping with her arms full. It would not be surprising if she forgets to plug in her car.
Ford, Chrysler, BMW, Toyota, Delphi, WiTricity, Siemens and others are working on inductive charging and soon researchers at Oak Ridge will retrofit some Nissan Leafs with a wireless-charging setup to test the system in real-world conditions.

[Source: Ward's Auto]


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  • 19 Comments
      Chris
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Think of a mother of three children coming back from shopping with her arms full. It would not be surprising if she forgets to plug in her car." This is a dumb statement, if you're enough of an eco-person to buy an electric car you're not going to forget to charge it. The same applies to me and my gas car, I don't forget to gas it up when it needs fuel.
        erhcanadian
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Chris
        That quote is not just dumb, it's sexist! To imply that gender and parenthood are indicators of forgetfulness is just plain wrong. A single 21-year-old male coming back from a beer run could also forget to plug in his car.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Love the idea but the people who think this stuff up must never experience snow, rain, or high water.
      Jorge Pinto
      • 3 Years Ago
      90% efficieny, at what power level, verified by whom, and in what conditions? The 10inch gap , damp, not well aligned with the transmitter, is not the likely the conditions for the 90% number. But even at 90%... we're talking about a lot of power "gone" into ... where? heat? I hope so, because radiated EM will cause heath issues and interferes with electric and electronic equipment. A normal charger can easily burp 4Kw power level, and 400w lost is a heck lot of EM. The EV consumer did not ask for this amenity, and extra costs... it's the sponsored analyst that's making the push.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jorge Pinto
        Hm, i didn't even think of EM. What i don't like is that you already have a loss from converting AC to DC, in the realm of 75%-95% from the wall to the plug. This just adds more inefficiency. Imagine if the world's car fleet suddenly needed 10% more energy. Another issue is that electric cars are going to run on different voltages. So does this spit out a standard 240v AC or what? Anyway, why do all roads lead to lessened efficiency? Who asked for cars that continually got heavier and required more energy to do the same job? not me..
      • 3 Years Ago
      I design stuff for a living, I also teach design, and it just drives me CRAZY when I see how much effort is being wasted on this kind of thing. Of course I don't want to get in the way of a dreamer (I mean I invent stuff myself) but there is no logic to the basic premise. Why would we go to the bother of developing incredibly power efficient vehicles only to throw away 10% of that power because it's too hard to plug something in? People who develop silly things like this alway use an example (a mother with 3 children . . . etc.) to try to justify what they are doing it. They are in love with the technology, lots of really smart people fall into this trap . . . but it is a total fail. Tearing up perfectly good roads to embed this stuff makes even less sense. Marlino is wrong, inductive charging is less efficient, takes longer, and is more expensive all to gain very marginal convenience. Regular plug in systems can be designed to be just as convenient. I have a Braun razor that has two metal bumps that touch the correct spots in a holder thingy. It is technically a plug in device, but I never think about when it is plugged in or not . . . it just stays in the stand until I need it and then it works, all with no moving extra parts or loss in efficiency. Inductive charging is a fun little science trick that only makes sense in a few very specific situations (like charging a toothbrush in a wet environment). The car companies are just chasing their own tails on this one!
      Levine Levine
      • 3 Years Ago
      A cheaper tech is having your iphone syn with your car's computer. When car needs charging, your phone will give you a ring until you plug it. Why build new intrastructure when the existing tech is adequate?
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      well... sure some convenience can be gained but 10% loss of all energy is also a kind of drawback. or even 5. it also adds some design constraints that might be less than convenient. as well as cost. and if she means at home then people might want to plug in for better efficiency. parking lots maybe. if standards can be agreed on
        paulwesterberg
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Hey Dan batteries are not perfectly efficient either. By being able to get some charge en route will make it easier for manufacturers to create lightweight efficient vehicles. Isn't that what you want?
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          What do you mean by batteries aren't perfectly efficient? If you design a battery system correctly, ( IE run it at it's rated C of charge and discharge ) you will get 100% of the energy you put in. The AC to DC conversion at the charger is where you take a hit in the shorts. OR if your battery is massively disbalanced.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          I don't think she is talking about in road charging. if she is that introduces substantial infrastructure cost.
      vazzedup
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wireless parked charge points are a great way to do whats needed, but I think they should just lower the inductive charger pad to the floor when the car comes to a stop over a charge point. If we can have motorized rear hatches and sliding side doors, dropping a pad to the floor to increase the efficiency of the inductive charging process should be simple.
      Ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      If they put this on the highways, it would be great. But the cost and ability to charge thousands of cars at teh same time would be an issue.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      cars with high ground clearance will have problems unless near field resonance can be perfected.
        paulwesterberg
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Or they could use an actuated suspension system, ala rap star low riders. Cruise low to the ground when on a smooth electrified road & raise up when traveling off road. You could use integrated GPS, front facing radar or active suspension monitoring to automatically adjust the ride height. In-wheel electric motors would make this easy to do and provide excellent all-wheel traction. Michelin Active Wheel Motor EV concept: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1uTR-8KarE BOSE Active Suspension: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8sVDenpPOE
      Edge
      • 3 Years Ago
      Perfect for bus routes, which are fixed. This will allow smaller capacity batteries to be used, thus saving on vehicle cost. I'm surprised by that 90 percent efficiency. Awesome tech!
      skierpage
      • 3 Years Ago
      Power is just part of it. The car and the charger have to signal each other; if it's for a fee you have to agree to pay for the charge and how much you want. When you communicate wirelessly you have to worry about security. I don't think the latest Delphi wireless technology has addressed these concerns. The companies with wireless charging mats for phones and music players made the same argument over convenience... meanwhile their sales are dismal and everyone plugs in. From Ward's Auto: "Shorter term, a company that runs shuttle busses from Logan Airport in Boston to car-rental agencies will put the idea into action by embedding inductive chargers at the spaces where a bus waits for passengers, so it can recharge while it waits." That makes a lot of sense. Develop the technology for fixed routes as an alternative to overhead power lines to electric buses.
      samagon0
      • 3 Years Ago
      this only makes sense. No need to standardize on plugs, blah blah blah, drive on top of the charging thingy, it recognizes the type of car, and provides the correct charging voltage etc.
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