Recharge Wrap-up: Developing countries lead in renewables, Toshiba tests wireless charging EV bus

Why can't Iowa market E15 to most vehicles in the summer?

Toshiba will begin testing its SCiB lithium-ion battery and contactless charger for EV buses. The cable-free charger uses a magnetic resonance system instead of electromagnetic induction, using a pad in the ground over which the bus parks. It charges the 45-passenger bus's 52.9-kWh battery pack in about 15 minutes, providing about 55 miles of driving on a single charge. The battery provides high output, allowing for highway speeds, and retains its performance after many charge and discharge cycles. Check out the system in the video above, and read more from Green Car Congress or in the press release below.

Developing countries outspent developed ones as a whole on renewable energy in 2015. While last year was a record year for renewable energy, at $286 billion, it wasn't the powerful, advanced countries, for the most part, that led the way on investing in green energy, according to the Ren21 Global Status Report. While China accounted for the most spending, countries like India, South Africa, Mexico, and Chile contributed quite a bit to the total. Economic slowdown in Europe, dropping renewable energy prices, and government policies helped developing countries outspend developed ones for the first time. Read more at Treehugger.

A quirk in fuel laws mean Iowa can't sell E15 gasoline to most cars throughout the summer. Gas station owner Charlie Good notes that because E15 is treated differently than E10 in volatility laws (despite being less volatile), he can only market the cheaper, cleaner, higher-ethanol blend to flex-fuel vehicles for 3.5 months each summer. Good says the solution is for oil companies to ship lower-volatility fuel for E15 summer blends, but that requires Americans and legislators to stand up to oil companies taking advantage of rules that reduce competition. Read more from The Des Moines Register.

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Toshiba to Start Field Testing Medium-sized EV Bus with Wirelessly Rechargeable SCiB™ Lithium-ion Battery

TOKYO—Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) has developed a fast, cable-free contactless charger for electric vehicles (EV) , and will field test it on a medium-sized EV bus designed to handle the power demands of regular high-speed journeys on expressways. Field tests will start from June 1 and continue until December.

The 45-seat bus is powered by a long-life, high-output SCiB™, Toshiba's advanced lithium-ion rechargeable battery, and will make regular trips between All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd. facilities in Tonomachi, Kawasaki and Haneda Airport in Tokyo. The 11-kilometer journey will test the bus and its performance under various traffic conditions, and will allow Toshiba to verify the convenience and practicality of contactless charging, along with its contribution to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The contactless charger, designed in collaboration with Professor Yushi Kamiya of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Waseda University, replaces conventional electromagnetic induction1 with an innovative and highly promising magnetic resonance2 system that is installed in the ground, under the bus. The system is easy to operate; charging starts once the driver pushes a button on the bus dashboard. As it is cable-free, all risk of electric shock is eliminated.

Electromagnetic induction requires close alignment with the battery, and a small distance separating charge transmitting pad and receiving pad. Magnetic resonance is much more forgiving: The charge pad of Toshiba's system and the SCiB™ battery can be misaligned by as much 20cm along the width and 10cm along the length, and they can be as far as 10cm apart. Tests have verified that the system's radio emission level meets limit regulations and do not interfere with radio signals of nearby equipment.

The SCiB™ battery of the type installed in the test EV bus is rugged, reliable and has a long life, showing almost no fall-off in performance even after 15,000 quick charge and discharge cycles. It is highly suited for use on shuttle buses operating at locations such as tourist sites and airports, which must combine heavy use with frequent and fast charging. It takes only 15 minutes or so to charge SCiB™ to a level necessary for the EV bus to run one-way between the test sites.

The battery also delivers high output that, combined with improvement in performance of drive components allows the bus to achieve a top speed surpassing that required for safe operation on expressways.

Commenting on the project, Professor Kamiya said, "I think we have developed a high-quality system by combining the new, convenient contactless charger with a high-power SCiB™ suited to frequent charging. I look forward to the field testing, as it will be the first time where a bus charged in this way has operated on the expressway. I am confident that the results will make a useful contribution to the promotion of EV buses."

Development of this system has been supported by the Ministry of the Environment under its Low Carbon Technology Research and Development Program since 2014. A field test that deployed a small EV bus incorporating a similar charging technology started in February this year and will run until December.

Toshiba will continue research and development of contactless charging and other advanced technologies that contribute to reducing environmental loads, and work to improve the quality of urban transport by providing SCiB™ for various transportation systems.


Contactless charging where power is transferred by magnetic fields using magnetic inductive coupling between coils of wire.

Magnetic resonance has a longer power transmission range than electromagnetic induction, realized by utilizing magnetic resonance to equalizing the resonance frequency of the transmitting pad and receiving pad in addition to power transmission by electromagnetic induction.

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