Some electric vehicle opponents and newbies have pointed out one obvious *cough* flaw in adopting electric vehicles, that you have to plug it in to recharge it.
Really, this isn’t any different than any other portable electronic devices, such as smartphones, laptops, or tablet, except that an electric vehicle, such as the Nissan LEAF, weighs in at around 3,300 lb and my HP ProBook weighs just under 6 lb. Still, we don’t find many people complaining about how they have to plug in their Motorola DROID 4 or Apple iPad 2 every night. Plugging in an electric vehicle is just as much of a routine as having one of these devices, but could it be even easier?
While the generally-accepted form of electric vehicle recharging involves an actual physical connection, just like a smartphone, wireless inductive charging seems to be the next logical step in making electric vehicle ownership that much easier. After all, we already have wireless inductive charging for smartphones, so why not electric vehicles? A number of companies are working on at least a couple of forms of wireless electric vehicle charging systems, regarding safety, efficiency, scalability, and could revolutionize plug-in vehicle ownership.
BMW and Daimler have announced a partnership in which they will develop wireless electric vehicle charging systems. Currently, BMW’s inductive charging system runs at 3.6 kW at an efficiency of around 90%. Testing on the BMW i8 yields around 3 hours of charge time, while the BMW i3 needs around 8 hours to recharge. Future development with Daimler hinges on doubling output and maintaining high-efficiency, so 7 kW on the same BMW i3 could be as little as 4 hours recharge time.
This may not seem all that impressive in comparison to the sub-hour charge times of the monstrous 85 kWh battery in the Tesla Model S, but imagine how easy simply parking in your garage for an overnight charge would be. Additionally, wireless inductive charging pads could be buried in the pavement in parking spots, or even roadways, charging electric vehicles on the go. What do you think, how would wireless inductive charging change electric vehicle ownership?
Photo credit: harry_nl