If you read only to the comma, I’m sure you were thinking, “Big deal, Tesla Model S on a Supercharger charges in just 60 minutes!” Wireless inductive charging technology has come a long way and, soon, electric vehicles may never have to recharge by doing something as mundane as plugging in a cord.
Wireless charging transfers energy from point to point using an electromagnetic field. The charging coil, on or in the ground, generates the field. The receiving coil, mounted on whichever device, whether smartphone or electric vehicle, uses this field to generate an electrical current, which is then fed into the rechargeable battery pack. Wireless inductive charging requires no plugging in or touching anything and, since it is completely insulated, its perfectly safe for your cat or neighbor’s kid to walk across it.
Various automobile and technology companies have seen the benefit of wireless inductive charging for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles of all sizes. It makes for inconspicuous installation and rollout of large charging networks, as well as the sheer convenience of it. One system uses a smartphone app to help you park over the wireless charging mat, mounted in the pavement like a manhole cover, and then activate charging for your electric vehicle. Toyota’s next-generation Prius Plug-In will come with wireless inductive charging technology built-in.
The Volvo C30 Electric, an electric vehicle in limited production since 2011, has a range of approximately 99mi and recharges on the typical European 240V 16A line in about seven hours. Interestingly, the 24kWh battery pack can be charged faster with a new wireless inductive charging system, just two an a half hours! Volvo is working with Siemens on the project, which could be useful when it comes to developing some kind of standard for wireless charging systems, resonance or inductive, power output, and compatibility.
Image © Volvo