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Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging is On the Move, Literally!

Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging, On The Move, Could Power Future Electric Highways
Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging, On The Move, Could Power Future Electric Highways

Electric vehicles’ single drawback could be solved entirely by one innovation, not simply wireless inductive charging, but embedding these devices in the roadways.

Wait, we’ve already seen wireless inductive charging for electric vehicles, even electric buses, with the pads embedded in various spots on the bus route. That makes sense on a bus route, because the bus is always in the same places on the route for certain periods of time. Every time the bus stops for the driver’s break for a few minutes, or to pick up and drop off passengers at a certain stop, the bus’ onboard battery pack is recharged without any interaction on the part of the driver. Being recharged wirelessly and regularly on the same route also results in smaller battery size requirement, which saves money and weight and improves fuel economy.

A bus company in the UK is working out how to move these wireless inductive charging stations from their static positions to a more dynamic position, on a highway for example. The UK Highways Agency is looking to KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) trial in the city of Gumi, whose two electric buses run on a 12 km route. The buses run along a continuous wireless inductive charging circuit, which means the buses never have to charge at a fixed station. Rather, they charge on the move, and their minimal onboard lithium-ion battery is only used as a backup power source. KAIST estimates 85% efficiency with the setup.

Could such a continuous wireless inductive charging circuit eventually be adapted for regular electric vehicles travelling on the nation’s highways? For now, even a single lane for electric vehicles, equipped with inductive charging receivers, could significantly boost the range and capability of electric vehicles. A Nissan Leaf, for example, wouldn’t be limited by its 24 kWh / 75 mi range. On an electric highway, a Nissan Leaf driver wouldn’t have to stop to charge, relying on the battery pack only for the final leg between the highway and home or work.

Photo credit: sbisson / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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  1. An Inductive charging infrastructure can be incorporated into local commercial transportation systems, particularly, as future “roadway repairs and improvements” progresses over time (To use the construction term, “rough-in”).  However, the savings in weight (due to fewer or lighter lithium ion batteries) is not valid in the case of commercial transportation (designed to carry the “weight” of a volume of passengers to begin with) whereas it’s accepted that “empty” buses would be more economical to operate than fully occupied buses.

    My point has always been:
    That with the new low voltage DC technology, giving birth to electric “motors” that can now perform as basic “engines”, the face of transportation CAN change.  Because of that technology, electric generators (actually an opposite of electric motors) can minimize lithium ion batteries to be only used as a backup power source, if at all.

    It is a major source of pain to many, that TDI technology Diesel engines will eventually and completely revolutionize the transportation industry.  The unequaled performance and efficiency of today’s TDI Diesels meets with resistance, only because of the fossil fuels industry and it’s worldwide support from Govt and business.  But Govt and business will eventually stand behind the concept of the TDI Diesel “Generators” needed to push the new “Electric Engine/Motors” once the fossil fuels industries are allowed to have the same production “privileges” with the new Veggie Oil Production and Refinery Industry (as they enjoy with the Oil Production and Refinery Industry).

    All of the above is nothing, compared to transferring “light” from Maine to California without loss of illumination, and at no cost (light/fiber/lens).


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