Volvo completed what it called a "successful" study of wireless charging systems for electric vehicles by fully charging up an all-electric C30 in about two and a half hours.

The Swedish automaker used words like "comfortable," "effective" and "safe" to describe the inductive charging system. Such a process involves induction coils on both the station and the vehicle and uses electromagnetic waves to conduct the necessary electricity. Volvo is working with Siemens to develop electric-drive powertrains and hopes the study helps move the industry towards some sort of yet-to-be determined wireless-charging standard.

Other automakers are also looking at wireless charging as another way to get more people to gravitate towards plug-in vehicles. Toyota is working on a wireless charging system for its Prius Plug-in Hybrids, while Nissan's Infiniti division said last year that it aimed to make the first production model with a wireless charging system as standard equipment.

As for Volvo and its plug-ins, the company has been making the electric C30, albeit in limited numbers, since 2011. Volvo also started making its V60 plug-in diesel hybrid late last year and said at the time that it would produce between 4,000 and 6,000 cars for the 2014 model year. Check out Volvo's press release below.
Show full PR text
Volvo Car Group completes successful study of cordless charging for electric cars

Volvo Car Group has been a partner in an advanced research project that has studied the possibilities of inductive charging for electric vehicles – and the results show that this technology for transferring energy via an electromagnetic field has a promising future.

"Inductive charging has great potential. Cordless technology is a comfortable and effective way to conveniently transfer energy. The study also indicates that it is safe," says Lennart Stegland, Vice President, Electric Propulsion System at Volvo Car Group, and adds "There is not yet any common standard for inductive charging. We will continue our research and evaluate the feasibility of the technology in our hybrid and electric car projects."

Cordless charging
Inductive charging uses an electromagnetic field instead of a cord to transfer energy between two objects. An induction coil creates an alternating electromagnetic field from a charging base station. A second induction coil in the portable device picks up power from the electromagnetic field and converts it back into an electrical energy that charges the battery. This technology is common in electrical home appliances such as electrical toothbrushes but is not yet commercially available to charge electric cars.

"With inductive charging, you simply position the car over a charging device and charging starts automatically. We believe that this is one of the factors that can increase the customer's acceptance of electrified vehicles," says Lennart Stegland.

Research in Flanders
The completed research project, which included inductive charging for cars and buses, was initiated by Flanders' Drive, the knowledge centre of the automotive industry in the Flanders region in Belgium. It featured a consortium of companies, including Volvo Car Group, Bombardier Transportation and the coachbuilder Van Hool. The project was partly funded by the Flemish government. Volvo Cars supplied the car for the inductive charging project: a Volvo C30 Electric with a power output of 89 kW (120 hp).

"The tests demonstrated that our Volvo C30 Electric can be fully charged without a power cable in app. 2.5 hours. In parallel with this, we have also conducted research into slow and regular charging together with Inverto, which was also a partner in the project," says Lennart Stegland.

Volvo Cars has focus on electrification
Volvo Cars' ambitious strategy for electrification has also resulted in the successful launch of the fast-selling Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid, which entered series production in 2012.

The company has initiated strategic co-operation with Siemens in order to develop electrical drive technology, power electronics and charging technology as well as the integration of these systems into electric vehicles.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 49 Comments
      Nick Kordich
      • 1 Year Ago
      Here's my take: Bosch's wireless charger and installation costs $3600: http://www.plugincars.com/bosch-offers-wireless-electric-car-charging-unit-3000-127468.html That's almost 15 times what it can cost to install a 240V outlet as part of new construction. A new 240V outlet can simply be swallowed in the cost of construction, or if the municipality wants to offset it, they can simply waive a fee such as the cost of the electrical inspection for participating builders. In time, the cost of EV charging equipment is going to come down, but with that volume also comes additional expense if you're going to try to offset the cost to make it available to everyone. If ordering a million chargers over the next 15 years dropped the average cost over that time to $2500 ($2000 for the equipment, $500 for running a 240V line to the curb), you can wire a wireless charging spot for every plug-in on the road today for $375 million. If you spend $375 million on new construction, you'd get closer to 1.5 million new outlets. I think wiring simply outlets will carry you further, but we can't assume it would mean we'd see 10 times as many EVs supported. Wireless charging stations, by virtue of being a bigger investment, are not going to be built with a shotgun approach. If you put wireless chargers in San Francisco, you might have close to 100% adoption. If you put them in every home in the suburbs, you might have only 10% adoption, in some senses, that may be a wash. However, there are things that I think would cause a lean toward installing outlets over subsidizing wireless chargers: a) There would be less contention over waiving a $250 fee for builders than there would be fully subsidizing the cost of a charger and designating a streetside parking spot as EV-only (which would not necessarily keep it from getting ICEd), even if both were fully subsidized. The average cost being $2500 assumes it starts off at the new technology price and eventually drops to something under $2000 as volume increases, so politically you have to defend paying for $3600 chargers useful to one private citizen's regular use in the name of making charging available to everyone. Even if wireless charging is brought down to $500/charger and $500 for wiring to the curb, you're eliminating an obstacle for more people switching over to a PHEV or EV by building into new construction. b) A 240V outlet has numerous uses, such as H2 hydrolysis (in development from Honda) or CNG home refueling (which requires compression and moisture removal and must be powered by something). While my preference is for the BEV/PHEV approach, this expands the viability of home charging to others. garage 240V has other options, as well, of course - power tools, freezers, dryers, etc.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Nick Kordich
        If you go from a few dozen basically hand built units to a million then costs typically do not drop over 15 years by about the 30% or so you assume, but way, way more. In some respects it may also be more efficient to wire up a road with pads than running a wire to each curbside, as there could just be a ring in the road rather than individual wires, and they could be installed in the same operation as electrifying the road. I can't follow your reasoning on taking the cost as just $500 for a wire to the road, as you would hardly leave a bare wire there. So one way or another you are going to need a charger, either on a post or on a pad, and at volume there would seem no reason for a great differential in the prices, save for the actual cost of the pads themselves. Here is Qualcom on the subject: 'Cost of the WEVC components will be dependent on the specification required by each auto manufacturer. Our business model is to license our WEVC technology to auto industry suppliers to ensure a competitive and dynamic market for wireless charging. These suppliers will set the market price for the Base Charging Unit (BCU) and the Vehicle Charging Unit (VCU) equipment. We believe a vibrant and competitive supplier market will ensure competitive pricing so that wireless charging will eventually be comparable to conductive charging.' http://www.theengineer.co.uk/automotive/in-depth/your-questions-answered-inductive-charging-for-road-vehicles/1015724.article I can't find the reference offhand, but Renault and Nissan also indicate that they think that there will be a premium at first, which will shrink or even disappear with volume. In any case, the cost is no more than running the wire to the road, and so it is only the rest of the costs which differ.
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      What is it with people commenting on a blog about a fairly new, low volume technology like electric cars, that any possibility which is at an even earlier stage of development gets dissed in the same way as the worst of the defenders of the ICE status quo do? They may be able to get away with wires for roadside charging in the relatively spacious suburbs of the US, although with concerns like vandalism not to mention making a visual mess it is less than ideal, but there is exactly zero chance that this can or will be done in the crowded cities of Europe and Asia, Electric cars need all the volume they can get, and different standards are not what is wanted. Perhaps that is why the companies actually producing the electric cars like Nissan and Renault are keen on inductive charging, and pressing right ahead. As I noted, since I don't mind fuel cell cars that allows less than universal provision of chargers. It is quite staggering to me that those who advocate batteries everywhere should be so narrow minded that any deviation from the one true gospel is regarded as heresy, even charging them more conveniently.
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well Nick, we will soon know, as inductive chargers are being offered for sale. I reckon that some folks will pay for the convenience, not to mention that there is a ready market for the technology in taxi ranks, for buses etc.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      I still think wireless charging is a nice option for people that are very lazy and have more money than they know what to do with. But for most people, the 5 seconds it takes to plug-in is not such a chore and the wireless charging system merely adds additional costs and inefficiency for a tiny time savings.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Fine for folks with garages. Not so much for those who park beside the road. Wired charging is fine if you don't want BEVs to be applicable to almost everyone. That is fine by me, as I also get some stick here for arguing that fuel cells will be a useful option, but not so much for those who see BEVs as THE solution.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      "So instead of just changing the law to allow a discrete charger that can be built to look like some historic crap like a horse-post or something, they are more likely to dig up the road and install a wireless charger?" We would never allow fake "historic crap". We're not Disney. We go to extreme expense to bury other utilities - for example, all power and telephone lines are buried. So, yes, we'd rather dig up the street instead of erecting a pole. @ JakeY "...but I don't agree with Dave and your point that it's necessary for mass acceptance of EVs." You're attributing a comment to me I've never made. I just think wireless changing is a great convenience that will be very popular among the BEV-buying public.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      --"If they can get the cost down to near that of wired charging," I don't see how that could be done. Wireless charging has ALL of the same components of wired charging... and a lot more. Hell, even the old inductive paddle chargers of the 90's were killed off because they could not be made cheaper.
      Ricardo Gozinya
      • 1 Year Ago
      For me it's not a matter of safety, but of cost, necessity, and added vehicle weight. That last one is of particular importance, as electrics are already excessively heavy, due to the batteries. Which pushes vehicle makers to go to pretty extreme lengths to reduce weight in other areas. Now they want to put that weight back in, while giving no real benefit to the driver.
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      You can bet your bottom dollar that wireless charging will be mandated for public chargers. Picture this - A woman runs to her car because she is being chased by a stalker. She gets in her car, but the car won't let her pull away because it is plugged in. The woman is attacked. Within a week, wireless charging is mandated nationwide. This is on top of the greater actual danger (which won't make headlines) of electrocution due to worn out charging cords or otherwise damaged equipment.
        nbsr
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        Before it can be mandated it has to be certified. For that they can't just claim it is safe, they have to prove it with verifiable measurement data. They would also not be allowed to cherry-pick specifications (e.g. by quoting emission numbers at low power transfer etc).
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        Picture this - A woman runs to her car because she is being chased by a stalker. She gets in her car, but the car won't let her pull away because it is plugged in. Out of nowhere, an elephant steps in, and stomps on the attacker. Within a week, elephants are mandated as guards at all EV charging spots.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        That is ridiculous. You can create silly hypotheticals to mandate anything.
      Nick Kordich
      • 1 Year Ago
      @DaveMart - "Which is fine if you see plug in electric vehicles as a minority choice." During the next 20 years, I think it's a given EVs will be in the minority. The issue with wireless charging being available to almost everyone is that you can't make it available to almost everyone at the expense people are willing to make. Every EV needs to be charged, and the minority are going to be the ones who can only charge using wireless charging. I'm not saying that you are wrong on any points - in fact, I'll go you one further and say that the 49% within 20 feet of an outlet are not ready for plug-in charging, since a 20' cable to a 110V outlet is not going to suffice to provide a totally off-peak charging solution, given the average distance driven in a day. However, when it comes to implementing it, I think you're going to find more support for something like Palo Alto's solution or giving a $500 incentive to installing a 240V outlet than subsidizing an expensive wireless charger, especially in the face of criticism of people being lazy or wireless charging not being as 'green' a solution as they could be because of their lower efficiency. During the 'boost phase' of EV acceptance, I think a million invested in outlets at homes or hotels is going to give you more bang for your buck. It won't satisfy everyone, buy when you're talking about going from 1% to 10% of drivers in the next decades or couple decades, you're a long way from serving everyone, so you're better off in serving as many as you can with what's available to you.
      JakeY
      • 1 Year Ago
      @DaveMart It's pretty clear the UK is not contributing much market share to the EV count and the US, Japan carries the bulk of the weight. And I don't think the problem in the UK is charging posts, but rather the government not wanting to spend money on it (esp. given the lukewarm reaction when they do). @Letstakeawalk I apologize if you didn't make that point, but Dave is clearly making that point (see comment above me). And on that point about historical districts, I know there was a Tesla owner that parks on the curb and he was able to install a hidden socket in the ground and temporary post. For a permanent solution, a retractable or folding post can easily accomplish the same thing. But I suspect most areas serious about EVs will just install a regular post and change whatever laws in the way. http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/8506-Model-S-for-renters-(a-k-a-non-homeowners)-Renting-creating-hurdle-for-EV-adoption/page3?p=138947&viewfull=1#post138947
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      "It is quite staggering to me that those who advocate batteries everywhere should be so narrow minded that any deviation from the one true gospel is regarded as heresy, even charging them more conveniently." I'm personally shocked that Spec would be so insulting to refer to people who prefer a different charging system as "lazy." There's no need to be so incivil.
      Nick Kordich
      • 1 Year Ago
      The EIA has a 2012 breakdown of outlets near residential parking: http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=6810
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