• Jul 29th 2011 at 3:59PM
  • 10
Laura Marlino, deputy director at the power electronics and electrical power systems research center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, says that, "We believe it's not a matter of if, but when wireless charging will be in all [plug-in] vehicles." Well, if that's to be the case, then it's time to get cracking.

A technical breakthrough at Utah State University (USU) could make in-road wireless charging a reality. Researchers at USU have managed to get five kilowatts of electricity to jump an air gap of up to ten inches at 90 percent efficiency. To demonstrate the concept, USU researchers set up an electrical coil on the floor, used plastic cylinders as spacers to create the ten-inch gap and shot electricity across the gap to a receiver pad.

The principle has been in use for decades, but USU researchers say that 90 percent efficiency is the highest ever measured. Paul Israelsen, deputy director at USU's Energy Dynamics Laboratory, claims "We're getting efficiencies that are comparable to the same efficiency you would get with a plug-in electric charger." This summer, USU will mount a receiver pad to the undercarriage of an electric vehicle and test the system by driving over a stationery charging pad. The next step – and the really exciting one – is to test the technology while a vehicle is in motion. HaloIPT is already doing this kind of work, and we can't wait to see where it takes us.

[Source: Deseret News]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      USU appear to be using induction charging. This is rather different to the highly coupled magnetic resonance used by WiTricity and Toyota: http://green.autoblog.com/2011/04/27/toyota-teams-with-witricity-for-work-on-wireless-charging-system/ which appears as though it may be more tolerant of gaps and misalignments.
      ronwagn
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would like to see this in a circular system going near a city center in big cities. That is the way street cars ran in Los Angeles. Of course they had overhead lines.
      • 4 Years Ago
      To complete my last post- Actually Bombardier is planning an over the road system trial with both Bus and car applications- the car will be a Volvo C30 electric. http://www.primovecity.bombardier.com/en/ready_now/lommel.html
      • 4 Years Ago
      Interesting idea, but: ""We're getting efficiencies that are comparable to the same efficiency you would get with a plug-in electric charger." Yes but that's just the energy transfer, you still have to charge the batteries like any regular charger does.
        ronwagn
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wouldn't you just need a charge at the end of the trip? Or could it even provide enough voltage to charge and run?
      q3a7vodk4
      • 4 Years Ago
      "The next step - and the really exciting one - is to test the technology while a vehicle is in motion." Someone explain to me WHY this is exciting?
        Marco Polo
        • 4 Years Ago
        @q3a7vodk4
        Convenience. Commercially, this is a very big factor. Not everyone likes refilling an automobile with gas. Many elderly and disabled drivers may find the plug-in process difficult. In public charge stations, vandalism, failure of equipment etc may prove the same as most public access infrastructure. Rain, adverse weather conditions etc, also make the convenience of wireless charging attractive for some consumers. If it makes it easier to charge, especially on the move, why not?
        Chris M
        • 4 Years Ago
        @q3a7vodk4
        The first proposals for wireless power transmission was stationary - pull in and park over the charging pad, and it automatically starts charging. Convenient, but not a big improvement over just plugging in. But if they can make it work while driving over the charging pad, then charging pads can be built into certain major roads between cities to deliver power while driving. With enough highways and cars properly equipped, suddenly the "range limitation problem" for EVs vanishes. EVs like the Leaf could go 500 miles or more without stopping, and even plug-in hybrids like the Volt or Plug-in Prius could reduce their fuel consumption a lot more. Yep, that's a very good reason to get excited.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Induction charging while in motion is already happening in the Public Transit field (at least in one system, from one manufacturer, Bombardier) http://www.bombardier.com/en/transportation/sustainability/technology/primove-catenary-free-operation I doubt it has 90% efficiency, though. Seems a shame that these disparate induction charge innovators can't work together. Induction charging while on the go seems a no brainier. Still, at speed, one would use more current than could be transmitted (using near term technologies) - but at least the range would be extended by more than a few miles. Good to ensure that you get to your destination with a few miles to spare.
      Freedom Loveistruth
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