Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles


The new generation of electric cars that are set to hit the market promise to help end the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and clean the air. However, they are not without flaws. One particular flaw in their charging system may even make them less environmentally friendly than the most fuel efficient conventional cars.

First of all, charging an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle requires remembering to charge it when you go home. Beginning the day with a dead cell phone battery, or leaving the house without charging your laptop can cause frustration. Now imagine having to leave for work and forgetting to charge your car.

A new technology by the company Evatran, uses induction charging to automatically keep the car’s batteries at full charge. Drivers would just have to park over the base unit that is fitted to the floor and an intelligent control system in the vehicle will request charging.

The induction charging would use a coil in the base unit that creates an electromagnetic field. The coil in the vehicle would pick up

the field and convert it back into electronic current which the vehicle could store and later use. However, this does not have the same level of efficiency as plugging the car directly to the power source.

Representatives of this new technology believe the wasted energy is minimal enough, and is worth it in exchange for greater peace of mind in knowing that your car will always be charged. “We believe that our system will eliminate a barrier to electric vehicle adoption and increase the adoption of electrified transport,” says Rebecca Hough, Evatran’s marketing director.

Others believe that the wasted energy of induction charging negates the most positive aspect of electric vehicles, that they are environmentally friendly. This is especially true if the power source produces high pollution like a coal-fired power plant. Compared to efficient diesel-engine cars on the road today, plug-in vehicles may be only slightly better. However, with a ten percent loss in efficiency from induction charging, the scales could tip towards the efficient diesel engine.

On the other hand, this new technology may be a blessing in disguise. For prospective buyers, having an automatic induction charging system may be a major selling point which could boost electric vehicle sales. With more electric vehicle owners, the attention would turn to how these vehicles get their power. Then perhaps there would be a greater public demand for renewable energy such as wind or solar. With renewable sources, the ten percent drop in efficiency would then be much less of a concern.

Article by David A. Gabel, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.



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3 comments on “Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles

john

The last paragraph leads to very important information: Most people are apathetic to the poor efficiencies of generating power onto the grid. The basis is they want something “easy”, so they can be comfortable with their life. Other people who study this declare people to be lazy or even “addicted” to the comfort “afforded” by the grid. An example of this is having your power shut off due to a wind storm destroying power lines, and while we know the power if off, we STILL flip the light switch to turn on the lights or turn on the TV! We are mindless to how bad we are addicted to the easy. This leads to more inefficiencies in our homes.

Someday when it is more painful to the pocketbook for each of us, a time will come where most home appliances are DC voltage, supplied by a 48v battery system which is charged not by the grid, but by wind or solar. (please, will a manufacturer start making kitchen mixers, coffee makers, and microwaves being operated on low voltage DC current, so we can get a head start on this?) It can be supplemented by a home sited generator which uses the fuel normally used by the heating system, but first generating electricity before releasing the heat inherently shed by the laws of thermodynamics.

Oh, by the way…. when people talk of the “pollution” of coal fired power plants, they often forget about the heat shed. In fact, any nuclear or gas powered plant wastes more than twice the kiloWatts of heat to the environment than killWatts of electricity it puts onto the grid. We will someday be smart enough to use fuel at home to make electricity and use the shedded heat, but NOT until we understand the true cost of electricity.

Electric powered stuff is best when it is DC, and comes from a battery charged by wind or solar, at the point of use. The grid has more evil in it than benefit, but we can only see the truth of this when we come to confess our addiction to the “easy” it provides. Man, are we crapping on our kids if we don’t come into reality.

Personally, I long for the day when electric cars and plug-in hybrids are widely available. With a plug-in hybrid, I would be able to do my daily commute of ~15 miles without ever firing up the IC engine. No longer would I have to spend money on petroleum; no more subsidies to the petro-thugs and hydrocarbon despots of the world. The future can be clean and green, in more than one sense of the term. For an article about public recharging stations and new electric/hybrid autos see I Sing the Auto Electric.

Zeke

For an conductive automatic connector.

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