The downside to electric cars is the available range and the amount of time it takes to recharge a vehicle battery. Connecting the power cord to the vehicle seems like a small thing in comparison but the conection does need to be made in just the right way.
Flexible charger connections will be a high maintenance item and require frequent inspection and replacement. Drivers are not going to be happy to finally find a parking space with a car charger in place and realize that the it does not work with their car. All connectors will need to be exactly the same.
It is also fairly easy to forget to plug in your car, before you walk away, leaving you with a partial charge to get home. Electric vehicle charging must be safe, compact and efficient in order to be convenient for customers.
Remote wireless charging tech for electric vehicles
There is another option being explored by researchers for charging an electric vehicle and that is wireless. Wireless power transfer technology elimimates the charge connector and cable for the consumer. This alone makes it a bonus to consumers.
How Inductive power transfer will change electric vehicle charging
Wireless Power Transfer is an innovative approach using magnetic resonance coupling of air core transformers designed for today’s growing plug-in electric vehicle market. This technology can provide a convenient, safe and flexible means to charge electric vehicles under stationary and dynamic conditions.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory ( ORNL ) Develops Wireless Power Trasnfer Technology For Electric Vehicle.
For stationary applications (like charging of a PHEV at home), ORNL’s innovative wireless power transfer technology adds a convenience factor compared to actually plugging in which will mean that the vehicle will have a full charge every morning.
By reconfiguring the transformer and altering the resonance frequency, energy is transferred to the battery with lower energy losses and with fewer demands on the primary circuit by the rest of the transformer system.
The ORNL discovery shows that sufficient power for the battery can be transferred from the primary to secondary circuits without significant energy losses if the operating frequency is set at 50% to 95% of the resonance frequency of the circuit. The electrical power is then transmitted to the chargeable battery, which is electrically coupled to the secondary circuit through the air core transformer.
Some advantages include: •Reduced energy losses during transfer of energy to the battery. •A charge potential that is relatively unaffected by up to 25% misalignment of vehicle. •Other receiving components draw less power from the primary circuit.
These advantages allow wireless power technology applications to expand at the workplace and beyond as the demand for EV rises.
For vehicles that operate over a fixed route such as busses and shuttle vehicles, Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) means that a smaller battery pack can be used. In the traditional system, the battery pack is designed to accommodate the needs of the entire route or shift.
With WPT the battery can be downsized because it can be charged when the vehicle stops on its route (a rental car shuttle bus, for example, can charge when it waits in the terminal and again when it waits at the rental car place. Thus the battery only needs enough charge to get to the next stop. This decrease in battery size means significant cost savings to electrify the vehicle.
This technology enables efficient “opportunity charging stations” for predefined routes and planned stops reducing down time. Charging can occur in minutes.
This improvement also eliminates the harmful emissions that occur in garages while buses are at idle during charging.
In larger cities, dynamic charging offers an even greater impact utilizing existing infrastructure. As vehicles travel along busy freeways and interstate systems, wireless charging can occur while the vehicle is in motion. With this technology a vehicle essentially has unlimited electric range while using a relatively small battery pack.
Here are some features and advantages of Wireless Power Transfer Technology.
In-motion charging stations use vehicle sensors to alert the driver.
Traveling at normal speeds, sensors establish in-motion charging.
WPT transmit pads sequentially energize to the negotiated power level based on vehicle speed and its requested charging energy. Lower power when vehicle speed is slow and much higher power for faster moving vehicles.
Vehicle to Infrastructure communications (V2I) coordinates WPT charging level according to on-board battery pack state-of-charge.
V2I activates the roadway transmit pads placing them in standby mode and negotiates charging fee based on prevailing grid rate and vehicle energy demand
Dynamic charging would allow electricity to supply a very large fraction of the energy for the transportation sector and reduce greatly petroleum consumption. Previously worrisome traffic delays now provide longer periods of charge while passing over in-motion chargers.
Inclement weather such as rain and snow do not affect the charging capability.
About Gordon Smith Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.