North Carolina's Research Triangle may be one of the most "wired" places in the US when it comes to technological advancements, but why stop there? To take the lead in electric-drive vehicle adoption, go wireless.

Raleigh, NC has become the first US municipality to join the Apollo Program, which tests wireless electric vehicle chargers made by Evatran. The Virginia-based company's Plugless Power chargers were, as of September, being tested by entities such as Google and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, in addition to Hertz, Duke Energy and the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

In late October, Evatran said it reached an aftermarket-charger sales and distribution agreement with SPX Service Solutions that will allow the company's wireless charging stations to be installed in the homes of owners of Nissan Leafs and Chevrolet Volts starting next April. The home stations will cost about $4,000 for the on-board receiver, garage-floor transmitter and garage installation needed for the wireless system.
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Raleigh Is Nation's First City to Test Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging Systems

December 10th, 2012 The City of Raleigh announced today its involvement in the Apollo Program, a nationwide initiative aimed at encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles through the use of wireless charging technology. The program, launched by local startup company Evatran, has installed six prototype wireless charging systems with participants such as Google, Duke Energy, and The Hertz Corporation. The City of Raleigh is the first municipality nationwide to join the seven other participants in the second phase of the program, which kicks off early next year.

The City of Raleigh, along with the other Apollo partners, will use Plugless Power wireless charging systems on its own fleet of electric vehicles. These second generation systems, improved following the feedback from the first phase of the program, are production-intent and will be available to individual electric vehicle owners as soon as next April.

"We are excited to be the first municipality to participate in this program," Mayor Nancy McFarlane said. "This is another example of how Raleigh continues to lead the nation in sustainability issues."

With offices in the Research Triangle Park area, Evatran has been developing the wireless charging technology for high-power applications over the last three years. The City of Raleigh's commitment to the Apollo Program represents the first wireless charging stations installed in the local area. The installations, at three parking spots in municipal lots around the Raleigh, will allow a Chevy Volt and two Nissan LEAF vehicles to pull up and charge without the effort of plugging into the unit.

"This is an exciting announcement for Evatran," said Rebecca Hough, chief executive officer and co-founder of Evatran. "We've been looking forward to getting this technology into the field and there's something to be said for our local municipality stepping up to be first. The Raleigh-Durham area is one of the most electric vehicle-friendly areas in the country, and with the City's participation in the Apollo Program, it will now be a leader in the adoption of advanced electric vehicle charging technologies."

The City of Raleigh will have systems installed at the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex and the City's Transit Operations Center. Both locations will provide charging for City-owned vehicles.

For more information on Plugless Power or the Apollo Program, visit www.pluglesspower.com. For additional information on the City of Raleigh's sustainability projects, visit the City's website at www.raleighnc.gov.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 37 Comments
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've now tracked down that there is a 20% charging and using the batteries. Here is the academic study: http://www.morssglobalfinance.com/what-should-the-us-energy-strategy-be-consider-autos/ And here from a Leaf owner: http://www.plugincars.com/economy-efficiency-nissan-leaf-my-experience-after-3-months.html As can be seen in the attached file, over 3 months he got 4.3 miles per kwh according to the Leaf, and measuring from the wall 3.4 miles per kwh. That makes sense of Nissan and others claims that there is actually little or no difference in charging efficiency between wired and unwired, and that the only thing holding us back is the cost of the equipment which should fall with volume.
        mustang_sallad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        Saying there will be no difference in charging efficiency is a) not good common sense and b) not a logical conclusion from the facts you've stated. To make that conclusion, you would have to be implying that the entire 20% loss of charging energy is occurring in the charge coupler and whatever wires are eliminated by using this wireless charging setup. That's 600W - you'd have to have some pretty terrible wires to have those kinds of losses. Whatever inefficiency these studies have found are only going to stack on top of the added inefficiency of the wireless setup. Use your common sense! Copper conductors are more efficient than induction! That's not to say there isn't merit to wireless charging. I would argue that EVs are so much more efficient than conventional vehicles that they can afford to give up some energy efficiency for the sake of convenience. So the efficiency thing is not a deal breaker to me. The deal breaker is the fact that copper conductors are a hell of a lot CHEAPER than the induction hardware. Take a step back - what's holding the EV industry back is not the fact that you have to take 10 seconds to plug it in every night, it's the fact that it's still a struggle to justify an EV strictly financially speaking. I"m not saying we won't move towards wireless charging eventually, I'm just saying we have much bigger fish to fry for the foreseeable future.
          mustang_sallad
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mustang_sallad
          "Youre giving EVs way too much credit." No I'm not - your reference shows that EVs deserve lots of credit for being efficient. This is a discussion about the efficiency of EV technology. Don't hold EVs responsible for the inefficiency of old power plants - that's a separate discussion, and it's already being addressed all over the world. 39% is way below the well to tank efficiency in my country. "See above reply to Darryl. If you have solid breakdowns of the charging/storage losses please provide them. And please don't generalise what is holding EV sales back from conditions in the US." See my reply to Darryl's thread. And lol, I don't live in the US! Fact remains - running cost is a lot lower for an EV pretty much anywhere, while the price is a lot higher. My point was that lowering the price is more important than reducing the already tiny running costs - but then, wireless charging technology actually would increase the price AND increase running costs.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mustang_sallad
          "Thats .42 * .93 * .9 = 35% well to wheels." That should be well to tank.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mustang_sallad
          "I would argue that EVs are so much more efficient than conventional vehicles that they can afford to give up some energy efficiency for the sake of convenience." Youre giving EVs way too much credit. http://bioage.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c4fbe53ef0120a5ba443f970b-800wi
          mustang_sallad
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mustang_sallad
          Ever heard of hydroelectricity? It's pretty cool.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mustang_sallad
          "39% is way below the well to tank efficiency in my country." In the USA, the average natural gas plant is 42% efficient, the grid is 93% efficient, and the charging process is ~90% efficient. Thats .42 * .93 * .9 = 35% well to wheels. Its unlikely that your country is significantly better. The best natural gas plants average less than 50% efficiency.
          Nicholas (Kompulsa)
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mustang_sallad
          Thank you. Wireless induction chargers are only necessary if the owner can't remember to spend only seconds plugging the vehicle in every night. There is no excuse for that, though.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @mustang_sallad
          See above reply to Darryl. If you have solid breakdowns of the charging/storage losses please provide them. And please don't generalise what is holding EV sales back from conditions in the US.
        DarylMc
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        Hi DaveMart I've still not seen a Leaf, Miev or Volt on the road or at a dealer in my part of the world. So I am less passionate about wireless charging than you:) You have worked out power in and power out losses for the whole system. But I think you should clarify for other readers that 20% is not lost in the wired charging system cables. The bulk of the energy lost would be in the battery itself. From Wikipedia Lithium ion Charge/discharge efficiency is 80-90%. There will also be losses in the battery management system. Both of these losses will be common to wired or wireless charging. Wireless will have some additional loss over cables.
          DarylMc
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DarylMc
          Hi DaveMart Unfortunately I don't have any solid figures for wireless charging either. But I "suspect" some manufacturers may be a bit loose with the facts when they suggest it will be a match for the efficiency of wired charging. In any case I think wireless charging would be an excellent feature for electric vehicles.
          mustang_sallad
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DarylMc
          It sounds like you're assuming that with Wireless charging, you bypass the car's onboard charger. I could be mistaken, but I'm almost certain this is not the fact. Evatran's device brings AC power to the car wirelessly, this AC power then still needs to go through the car's on-board charger, which is an integral part of the vehicle's powertrain controlled by the ECU that converts the AC to DC for charging the battery.
          MTN RANGER
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DarylMc
          I have seen the system personally. Evatran uses the J1772 protocol for charging - the car sees it as having a wired connection. The installed hardware bypasses the charging plug, but still connects to the onboard 3.3kW charger (for both the Volt & Leaf).
          mustang_sallad
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DarylMc
          From Evatran's website: "The Plugless Power technology has achieved over 90% efficiency as measured from your home’s 208/240V electrical outlet to your vehicle’s existing on-board battery charger. "
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DarylMc
          I don't have exact studies of the losses. It might well vary by car and by the charger used. The academic study I referred to put the losses as equal between the battery and the charger. If you have precise figures, not assumptions based on what you think are the principles at play, please present them. I have given the best I can find. We are on solid ground for the 20% loss. I don't think the battery alone causes that. Nissan have also said that there is little real difference efficiency in either method.
      Rr778
      • 2 Years Ago
      How fast is to full charge? Does anyone know?
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sorry, Happy Holidays You-All ! The EV is being marketed as a "Rich People's car." We need a full size BEV basic transportation car. The best I have seen so far was a 1995 "Mini-Pick-up converted to BEV with AGM 144 V. battery pack and 60 mile range with 5 pasenger cab and short bed with batteries under the bed . It had no internal computers or bluetooth, GPS, or any "Window dressing" like leather seats, it cost under $10,000 with new tires, motor, battery, and EV-Electronics package. Except for new tires at 50,000 miles and windshield wipers/ washer refilling monthly or as needed, it needed no service for the next 100,000 miles. (search out "EVprofessor" and see how we can electrify the car for "Everyman!")
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      These wireless projects remind me of the old joke . . . there was a guy under a street light crawling around, so I asked him what he was doing. He said "I dropped my keys so I'm trying to find them." So I asked "Is that where you lost them?" He said "No, I lost them over there but the light is much better over here." People work on these wireless thingies because they are cute and we know how to do it pretty easily. But they are not resolving the real problems with EVs.
        Ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        While it is interesting, and for home use, quite realistic as an optional add-on...we need to work on the real problems of making more aerodynamic cars that can travel farther on a single charge. The speed of which they can recharge and travel more mile will go up compared to a heavier, less aerodynamic car.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        I want to disagree, but yea... Expensive and short range (except for tesla), but we don't ave to plug it in....(sigh) Although the divorce rate will certainly drop...
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        "But they are not resolving the real problems with EVs." I don't think he means building out charging infrastructure. Most BEV advocates readily admit that they typically charge at home, and that multiple public chargers per car are a waste of resources (especially since they'll be continually obsoleted by newer charging protocols). Everyone can acknowledge that the "real" problems of EVs are heavy, expensive batteries. Make them smaller and lighter, and cheaper. IMHO, though, I'm glad that they're working on wireless recharging, because wired charging simply won't be allowed in a densely populated area like where I live. Too many hazards for pedestrians, nevermind the unsightly mess.
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Exactly. Look, the wireless chargers are nice . . . but they are not the reason why EVs are not selling. We need cheaper EV. Cheaper/lighter batteries.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Yeah, what city could possibly want under the street chargers when they can put in posts and run live wires around that people can unplug, including passers-by? Why bother to have a far more durable system, where there is no possibility of the wires kinking or damage to the connector? Who wants to be able to simply drive over the charging point and stop when you could be plugging in and unplugging in the rain and snow? I bet you stuck to your landline telephone too - why carry a wireless one around when you can go to a nice phone both, and they can decorate the streets! :-)
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          DaveMart . . . do you own an EV? No, I don't believe you do. But you want to paint the ceilings of the castle you are building in the sky. Get it?
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @spec Keep working on those creative comebacks. Since PR left, we really don't have a great person on the left to have great, creative retorts like we used to. Ahh for the days of the epic battles between PR and Marco. Marco - 'I would expect a retort reminiscent of the Visigoths attempt to storm the Bastille from you, PR' PR - 'your unenlightened attempts at wit are beneath angler fish of the Mariana Trench during the vernal equinox.' Rest of us: 'yea! The Visigoth thing!'
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Where I live people will not be getting EV's in any substantial numbers if charging outside the home is not done wirelessly. In the cities where they are most useful there simply is not the space for the street furniture, and most people do not have a garage. You may think middle America is typical of the world. Well, come down out of your stars and stripes cloud, and look at Asia and Europe. Wireless charging is necessary for them to work there.
        Nicholas (Kompulsa)
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        People should spend more time focusing on how wireless charging technology can be put to practical use. One idea is to put them under roads to extend vehicle range as they pass over it or sit over it in traffic, as well as at stop lights. I love the thought of stoplight wireless chargers, actually.
      Thereminator
      • 2 Years Ago
      Like the man said "its the battery stupid!" ,everything else is window dressing that might make EV life easier...so why are we arguing about window dressing?
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Thereminator
        Apparently, some people are simply upset that anyone is bothering to R&D wireless recharging.
          Thereminator
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I think that these supplemental issues,that could be positive,become magnified and blown out of proportion by those that lose perspective...do to an over-investment and overriding effect of emotions.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      Some criticism is levelled at inductive charging on the grounds that we should be concentrating on improving the batteries instead, which would do more to overcome the main objection to EV cars, range. Aside from it being unlikely that whether we develop inductive charging or not is going to affect the pace of battery development one way or the other, I would argue that it would effectively increase range due to the ease of inductive charging. If you pull into a store with conventional charging stations, the conversation you are going to have with yourself is whether you need to top up. If you can get away without, you won't. If inductive charging pads are available, then for a five minute or ten minute stop you will still be charging.
        mustang_sallad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        That's a very good point. I've used that argument myself while talking about improving electricity generation - there's no reason these technologies can't be improved in parallel. I guess I'm just saying I'm not convinced this will go very far at this stage, as far as market demand goes.
      Crownie
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's my home! Go Raleigh!
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      @ Spec "wireless thingies" ? Next thing you'll be cackling "by cracky", and wearing your pants up round your chest as you polish your 1955 Kaiser-Frazer Allstate custom 6, that you bought new from the Sears mail order catalogue ! :) " But they are not resolving the real problems with EVs". Nope, just solving one problem at a time ! Wireless charging is a terrific method of solving the problems of the inconvenience of plugging-in. Anything that makes EV's (and EREV's) more popular, can't be a bad thing !
      transpower
      • 2 Years Ago
      $4000--are you kidding me???? Who the heck could afford that???? The home charging system has got to be brought down to below $500!!!!
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @transpower
        It is an early production model, and so no conclusions can be drawn on the likely cost at volume. People like Nissan reckon they can get it down to comparable levels to wired charging.
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