Imagine walking into your garage every morning to a car with a full tank of “gas.” Now imagine the ability to refuel while you drive. This is the promise of wireless electric vehicle charging, and it could eliminate the problem of range anxiety once and for all by providing EV drivers with better options for charging than drivers of gas-powered vehicles have for refueling. The best part is, this is not some far-off dream–companies are producing these systems right now.
German Electronics company Bosch will sell and install the first wireless electric vehicle charging system this year, the Plugless L2 System. Here’s how it works: A charging pad is installed in the floor of your garage or wherever you park your car, and an adaptor is installed on the undercarriage of the car. When the car is parked over the pad, it charges wirelessly using inductive power transfer, similar to how wireless phone charging pads work. According to the LA Times, the systems are available to interested buyers now. The Plugless L2 System also includes a wall-mounted control panel to help with alignment and charging functions. The system is compatible only with Chevrolet Volts and Nissan Leafs for now, and once installed allows drivers to simply park over a docking pad to charge.
One drawback of the system, at least for now, is price. As the LA Times article states,
>The system will set car owners back about $3,000, and that’s just for the vehicle adapter installation. Bosch’s order site didn’t list the additional costs for installation of the parking pad and wall panel; a representative said installation would vary based on each driver’s home and electrical configuration.
For now, most EVs only travel about 80 miles per charge, so while wireless charging in your garage is a breakthrough, it doesn’t change the fact that you must recharge within your EV’s range. But what if you could also charge your car while driving? Companies like Primove are working on this concept, and even testing underground induction (wireless charging) programs in Mannheim, Germany and Belgium.
According to Treehugger,
>Induction works by having conductors (in Primove’s case, rods of varying lengths under the asphalt) that create a magnetic field. The fields generate electricity when another conductor (the vehicle) is placed in the field. The generated electricity is picked up by an undercarriage unit and routed to the battery.
An EV can charge while parked or while driving over the system. Because the system sits below the surface of the road, wireless induction charging is waterproof and weatherproof.
While wireless EV charging is still in its infancy, there is a great deal of interest in the development of this technology to support more efficient, energy-independent American transportation. Sustainable America shares this interest and encourages innovation and efficiency in transportation, with a goal of reducing our nation’s oil use 50% from today’s levels by 2035.