The electric vehicles of today are nothing like what we are going to be seeing in the next generation of electric transportation. Will there be a place for the internal combustion engine [ICE] when that time comes?
Imagine unlimited electric vehicle range and charging so convenient that you simply have to park or drive your car. That’s the vision being embraced in New Zealand by Qualcomm, in conjunction with University of Auckland. Qualcomm Halo WEVC [Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging] builds on technology that we’re already used to seeing in smaller devices, wireless induction charging, such as mobile phones and medical devices, which transfer just a few watts over millimeters of distance. Recent developments in the field of wireless inductive charging has enabled the transfer of kilowatts over many centimeters of distance, at far greater efficiency than ever before.
Qualcomm Halo is already being tested by Drayson Racing, one of the few electric vehicles to compete successfully in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Lola-Drayson B12/69 EV is just the first of a number of electric vehicles that could change the face of racing. For now, Halo is stationary, that is, it requires that you park an electric vehicle on it to charge, but Qualcomm wants to move Halo out onto the open road. Future electric vehicle races could see race tracks with Halo built right into them, recharging the vehicles as they pass over them.
That’s great for race cars, but what about the rest of us? Race track testing is actually one of the best places to test pretty much any new automobile technology, putting it beyond stresses that might occur in normal non-racing activities that the majority of people use their vehicles for. Air bags, seat belts, and even tire tread, just to name a few, trace their roots back to racing. Every aspect of electric vehicles, from battery management to wireless inductive charging, will most likely be perfected on the track.
Electric vehicle charging on the road could lead to electric vehicles with much smaller battery packs, lightening the load and increasing range. Could the future be that we’d just need to drive the lane that says “Halo Inside” and forget about range anxiety forever? At that point, would there be any need for the ICE?
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