Laura K. Cowan

In-Road Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging Breakthrough Yields 90% Efficiency

by , 08/02/11

USU, Utah State University, inductive charger, in-road vehicle charger, vehicle charging breakthrough, breakthrough, world's first, inductive charging breakthrough, electric vehicle, electric car, green automotive design, green transportation, alternative transportation

Utah State University researchers have made a breakthrough in the quest to make in-road electric vehicle chargers practical for the real world, managing to wirelessly transmit 5 kilowatts of electricity across a 10-inch gap with 90% efficiency. That’s huge for a technology that has struggled to gain traction because of inefficiencies and difficulties bridging enough of a gap to make inductive chargers useful in highways, where chargers are a significant distance away from car batteries and need to deliver large amounts of electricity in a short period of time.

USU, Utah State University, inductive charger, in-road vehicle charger, vehicle charging breakthrough, breakthrough, world's first, inductive charging breakthrough, electric vehicle, electric car, green automotive design, green transportation, alternative transportation

Imagine not only not needing to stop for gas on your cross-country trip, but not needing to stop to recharge either. In-highway EV chargers could theoretically replace all refueling stations near major public roads, replacing them with either a toll to help pay for the on-the-go charge or free electricity via solar-charging highways. In addition, if EVs didn’t need to travel as far between charges, automakers could shrink battery pack size, reducing vehicle weight and cost without worrying about inadequate vehicle range, and leaving more room in your car for packing the fun stuff for your cross-country trek.

+ USU

Via Gas 2.0

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7 Comments

  1. Jay de Silva May 23, 2012 at 12:14 am

    This the future and is inevitable. Thank goodness for Inductive charging. Couple this tech with Ultracapacitors that take a charge very quickly unlike chemical batteries, and we are good to go.

    The only thing holding back EVs have been battery technology, high cost of batteries and their weight and charging times. With inductive charging and ultracapacitors (much cheaper and far lighter than batteries), there should be no holding back the EVs.

    They need not be the tiny two-seaters we now have either. They can be as large and as comfortable as any latter-day large car, and just as speedy and perhaps even more powerful because of the high traction power of electric motors.

    Holden Motors in Australia used ultracapacitors and electric motors on their large six-seater 5.0 Litre V8 car and achieved a range of 80 km on a single charge. That should be enough to get the car accross any minor roads that do not have induction charging strips.

  2. robosmith January 7, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    “but not needing to stop to recharge either. In-highway EV chargers could theoretically replace all refueling stations near major public roads”

    This is for charging on the go, otherwise you would not need a 10 inch gap. Expensive highway reconstruction, but an excellent way to make EV’s practical with smaller batteries.

  3. neutrino78x August 14, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    “azy reader – that isn’t practical. This is for when your car is parked…maybe at home, work, or a grocery store…you name it, your car can get topped off, without you having to remember to plug it in.”

    I don’t think this is correct. My reading of the story is that this technology is intended to transmit power to the car while moving, so you don’t have to stop to recharge.

    Basically, it would be like a slot car, subway train, or a TGV train, or the movie Minority Report, except no wires would be involved.

    –Brian

  4. mgarf August 8, 2011 at 2:30 am

    It’s not ready for commercial use but they are not far off. If they can charge the car at the same rate or greater rate than it uses that would allow for a electric charged highway for cars. Sadly the necessary funds for the government to contemplate that are too high, which is where the private sector would come in. If electric cars increase in adoption, a company simply has to petition the government to allow them to build roads and charge those who drive on it (based on usage of electricity and time, and of course for a profit). The question is return on investment and increased adoption to make it worth while. hypothetically speaking, if it expanded out gained public adoption by corporations you could look at a chunk of highway infrastructure costs that the government has to maintain as gone. The infrastructure in this hypothetical world would improve as well as companies compete on pricing and road quality to attract customers. All in all it’s not very likely as theirs too many holes such as the fact the government would never allow privatized roads. nonetheless it’s an interesting plausible scenario

  5. metro August 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    I think lazyreader is right. Even if this specific technology can’t do it, the goal should be so that while electric cars are driving on highways, or upgraded roads, they can get their electricity directly from the road. Their batteries would be used on local streets and getting to and from the highways.
    Perhaps as the system develops, it would eventually grow to reach the drivers home and work.

  6. he August 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    lazy reader – that isn’t practical. This is for when your car is parked…maybe at home, work, or a grocery store…you name it, your car can get topped off, without you having to remember to plug it in.

    This is a good step, BUT, while 90+ efficiency is good, I would want a 99% efficiency, otherwise I’d just continue to plug it in if it meant a smaller electrical bill.

  7. lazyreader August 2, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Interesting. The whole idea should be that a car wont need batteries. If you can run the voltage through the car somehow vehicles wont need batteries which means huge weight savings. More space for larger motors which means significant horsepower for those who still want performance. Trains have third rails, why cant a car? Cars will never need to fill up or recharge a battery, you simply charge them money for the amount of electricity or per mile basis. I want an electric Corvette. But I can imagine the enormous costs of lining every road across country.

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