Think of it as a way to boost plug-in vehicle adoption by removing the "plug-in" part.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it will spend as much as $4 million to speed the development of wireless electric-vehicle charging stations. The DOE will award the funds to as many as four projects and hopeful applicants should go here to apply. Recipients will be announced this summer by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Vehicle Technologies Program.

Electric-drive advocates say wireless, hands-free EV chargers will accelerate the adoption of EVs, and wireless EV charger revenue is expected to accelerate over the next few years as more people buy plug-in vehicles. Annual worldwide sales from wireless EV charging stations may total about $1.5 billion by the end of the decade, green-technology research firm Pike Research estimated in a late-2010 report.

Meanwhile, the federal government is periodically releasing funds earmarked for projects that will help vehicle makers reach progressively more stringent greenhouse-gas emissions standards over the next few years. Late last month, the DOE said it would fund $14.2 million for the development of materials such as carbon-fiber composites and high-strength steel and aluminum that would reduce vehicle weight. Last month, the DOE also said it would invest as much as $10 million to accelerate the development of battery-electric trucks, forklifts and cargo vehicles.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      Maddoxx
      • 2 Years Ago
      Infiniti had a cool concept of this give Infiniti the money to make it a reality
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      It worries me that battery technology may not be improving much when they constantly want to talk about wireless charging. Nothing wrong with wireless charging . . . but it is not like plugging in is all that hard.
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Depends on if they are talking about wireless charging while moving or wireless charging while stationary. The former would be addressing concerns about battery tech not improving. The latter is mainly a convenience feature and is orthogonal to battery tech. Eventually a standard would have to be created for wireless and it's not too early to start now (this means one wireless tech will have to be picked and then specifications designed around that tech).
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          'The objective of the FOA is to research and develop a production-feasible wireless charging system; integrate the system into a production-intent vehicle; and to demonstrate the technology’s readiness to deliver the benefits of static (and possibly quasi-dynamic) wireless charging to drivers of light-duty (10,000 lb Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or less) GCEDVs. While the primary focus of this project is the advancement of static and possibly quasi-dynamic charging, DOE recognizes that the research and demonstration results of this FOA may contribute to the future development of dynamic charging capability. This project is intended to demonstrate wireless charging technology while being cost-competitive and compliant with safety standards. ' http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/04/wireless-20120407.html Other projects such as that at Oak Ridge are more focussed on charging on the move.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        It is if you haven't got a plug, as the 50% of cars kept by the roadside don't.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          If you don't have a plug then you sure as heck don't have a wireless charger either.
          nbsr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          If you don't have a plug then get one. This is really as simple as that. Or, if you can't afford it, maybe you should rethink buying a $30k+ car in the first place. This whole argument reminds me early discussions on wireless internet access - it seemed like a cool idea back in '90 but then the whole problem was solved overnight by simply laying down some more cables. And that was about sending data, not kilowatts of power.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Marco: It is apparent that nsbr is not well travelled in Europe and the far East there are many millions of people who can easily afford a new car, but don't have convenient garage parking or any way to put in wired chargers. Many of those houses and apartments are in the $500,000 plus bracket, so those living in them have good incomes. To see the issue, put in 'Ambra Vale, Bristol UK' into google maps, go to street view and imagine that with charging posts and wires! The houses there are not cheap.
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @DaveMart Ah, Dave, so wise and yet from Bristol :) ! Of course, you are quite right ! I suspect there are millions of US citizens in exactly the same position.
          nbsr
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Dave, Marco, I do not disagree with the basic point. Yes, some people will have difficulty charging their cars. But: 1. Even it that's 50% of cars (which I think is greatly overestimated), then there are another 50% cars, which can be charged up easily. That's enough for an emerging market. By the time 10% of cars on the road will be EVs, we will get charging points everywhere. 2. The problem is in installing the charger, not in the plug. Installing wireless charger is as difficult (if not more - there are valid H&S issues) as the regular one. BTW, I'm from Europe and I live in Far East.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Unbelievable as it may sound to some who are used to wide boulevards, the installation of wired infrastructure is utterly impractical in many locations, especially in Europe. Here is an illustration of a street with the two different charging systems: http://www.oasys-software.com/dyna/en/events/users_jan-11/HaloIPT_Matt-Cooper.pdf Now imagine a street a third as wide as that, and you have the central cities of Europe. A lot of the people there are very well to do indeed, and can easily afford an expensive car, but would still be unable to put in a plug. In any case, to become a universal solution BEVs have to be able to be used, second hand, by less well off people. I am not sure why efforts to accommodate them should be denigrated. Companies such as Renault/Nissan are working to reduce costs to near the same level as for a wired charger.
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @ nbsr Do you think carefully before you post ? Dave Mart quite reasonably wrote that not everyone lives in a situation where ' plug'-in outlet ' is available. Therefore public induction charging would be more convenient. Now what's so difficult about that?
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        @Spec Why be such a Puritan ? If people,( me included) , want to pay for the convenience of wireless charging, why should you care? Cars are full of labour saving devices. It's not morally superior to lock your car manually, or for that matter to drive a manual car. Wireless charging will prove safer and easier, for a great many people, and help to popularise EV's. What's wrong with that?
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          By all means, please go ahead and buy a wireless charging system. But this story is about DoE funding of wireless charging efforts. I think that crosses a line from funding a fundamental technology needed by society and funding a mere convenience.
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @Spec, On that, we can agree.!
      Mike W1514
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is this just stationary charging or could it be adapted to charging on the move, say on a highway. That would make long distance travel much more practical.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      IF, and it's a big if, through thee road charging can be got to work as well as it appears it might, road transport will be revolutionised. Here is a short video by the guys at Oak Ridge: http://money.cnn.com/video/technology/2012/03/15/t-ts-electric-road.cnnmoney/ (Select: When the road charges your electric car) 'In the Oak Ridge model, 200 coils would be embedded in a section of the roadway and controlled by a single roadside device; successive coils would be energized as electric vehicles pass over them, providing enough power for the vehicle to reach the next series of coils a mile down the road. John Miller, a research scientist at Oak Ridge, estimates that each series of coils plus the controller would cost less than a million dollars. "Wireless chargers for electric vehicles are so convenient. You don't have to mess with plug cables. You don't care what the weather is. You don't even have to think about it. I think it's going to catch on superfast," Miller says.' http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39657/page2/ They have since reduced their cost estimate to $800,000 per mile - I can't find the reference off-hand. At that price the 12,000 miles of trunk roads in the UK (main interconnections between cities) would cost around $35 billion with two carriageways each way, or $3.5 billion a year for 10 years. That would mean that 12-24 kwh batteries for cars to get around locally would be totally adequate, as long distance travel would be covered. Otherwise to enable long distance batteries will have to increase to 50-100kwh, so electrifying the roads is a lot cheaper. The United States numbered highway system of around 158,000 miles would need around $500 billion to be converted to dual carriageway electric.
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      If condos, apartments and parking garages don't install them, what is the point? There are a lot of other places people go to that it would be hard to put in enough chargers for everyone in EVs that might show up. And people don't want to wait for hours for a charger to get free to be able to recharge to get home. Getting a 300 mile range battery, or research into other technology that would help boost range would be the best.
        Pete K
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        $4 million is a dinner at the White House for foreign diplomats...
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        Flats could often have under the ground chargers, but charging posts and trailing wires would be impractical. There is no way posts and wires could be accommodated in many European city streets where on the road parking is common. Inductive or resonant charging may be a luxury for those who park in garages, but for many millions of car owners it is the only way electric cars can become practical.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          "There is no way posts and wires could be accommodated in many European city streets where on the road parking is common." I agree. I don't live in Europe, but perhaps what might be considered the most European city in the United States. In my city, historic district regulations would prevent entire neighborhoods of very wealthy potential EV owners from plugging-in curbside. These people have the money and the inclination to buy whatever they want, and they won't want to infringe upon the historic aesthetic of the streets, nor would they even consider draping charging cables across sidewalks. That would be inconsiderate of pedestrians... Wireless charging would be the only acceptable form here, realistically.
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Even though it's a very small sum, I don't really see why the taxpayer is funding a product already be worked on by hundreds of companies around the world, Is this really the best use of taxpayer funds?
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Marco, you ask the pertinent question. The answer is no, it's not a good use of tax payer funds.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          Hi throwback: You've chosen and example which could not be less favourable to your case. Right from the beginning mobile communications were heavily regulated and aspects of them funded by the Government. It could hardly be otherwise since allocation of the radio spectrum is a government responsibility. From backing the fundamental battery development in universities to outlining protocols the government in all nations has been at the heart of the mobile communications revolution. http://profile.nus.edu.sg/fass/ecsjkdw/WirelessCommunications_Final.pdf Inductive and resonant charging will be no different.
          throwback
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          Because you have literally hundreds of companies doing research with their own funds. Obviously funding for the research is not an issue, and these companies clearly think they will figure out the most marketable solution.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          if the Government does not support any independent research, how the heck are they going to know whether the solutions presented by the companies is optimal not just for the companies, but for society at large? How are they going to effectively regulate a technology they have no in-depth knowledge of? The companies will certainly not in most countries solely develop the infrastructure, much of it will be government funded. Ideological objections to government funding should not get in the way of spending small amounts to stay in touch. The development of the internet although heavily privately funded certainly had a large government input. That is kind of the way modern technological society works.
          throwback
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          How did we know which cell phones were optimal? How do we know which phone is best for society at large? How does the government know how to regulate the phone industry without providing funding for cell phone manufacturers? Government doesn't have all the answers just by the nature of being able to spend tax money.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          Why?
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Marco: If they let private industry do it's thing, sure as eggs are eggs we will end up with incompatible charging standards. The Government needs to keep it's finger in the pie to set up the appropriate standards and regulations. In any case, in most countries the highways are a Government responsibility, so they need to ensure that the solution chosen is the cheapest from an installation and maintenance viewpoint. When you are talking about infrastructure in the tens and hundreds of billions range, spending small amounts now would seems a good idea to stay on top of it.
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Dave Mart. Good Heavens Dave, I'm not sure what all that means! But maybe I'm just a simple guy, who just wonders why the US government would give $ 4,000,000 to a private company to produce a product that would have produced anyway, rather than spend $4,000,000 to provide hospital equipment to save US children's lives. Now being a simple guy, I wonder if I were the trustee of your money, would I fritter it away on such uses?
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          marco: The sums are trivial compared to the investment of the companies, who are doing the heavy lifting. The Government agencies, save the quasi-commercial Universities with their spin-off companies won't be developing the fundamental technology, but getting involved just enough to set standards etc. The stable door is already open, and although fundamental free market theorists may dislike Government participation that is just the way it works in the real world. There aint no such thing as a pure free market. For a good oversight of the relationship between Government and private industry in R & D it is not even necessary to go to the aerospace industry, the history of GE alone, one of the most innovative companies which has ever existed, is full of all sorts of combinations, part fundings and relationships with Government. Maybe fundamentalist free marketeers do not approve, but why pick on induction charging! Just about everything industry does, including for instance building car factories, is part of a complex web of subsidy and so on with the Government. Induction charging is not going to remain the only virgin in this world of sin, admirable though some may find chastity!
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @DaveMart Everything you have posted can be accomplished by government regulation. There is no advantage for the government to invest taxpayer funds to assist any particular company. Unless you are saying that the government has already chosen a favoured technology, and wishes to aid only those companies who are cronies? Which government minister, or official is qualified to "ensure that the solution chosen is the cheapest from an installation and maintenance viewpoint " ? Surely with such talented,( even clairvoyant) people, the government has no need to invest taxpayer funds ?
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