Plugging a cord into an electric vehicle to charge it up after the daily commute doesn’t take more than a few seconds, and it’s a process we do almost every day with appliances and other electric items used around the house, but that hasn’t stopped companies from attempting to take the ‘plug’ out of the plug-in electric vehicle.
Take Delphi Automotive for example. The automotive parts supply giant has just reached an agreement with WiTricity Corp., a wireless energy transfer technology provider, to develop automatic wireless charging products for hybrid and electric vehicles. The collaboration between the two companies will help establish a global infrastructure of safe and convenient charging options for consumer and commercial electric vehicles.
Delphi’s system involves no plugs or charging cords. Drivers would simply park their electric vehicle over a wireless energy source that sits on the garage floor, or is embedded in a paved parking spot. The system will automatically transfer power to the battery charger on the vehicle. It makes use of highly resonant magnetic coupling and can efficiently transfer power over significantly larger distances. It can already transfer over 3,300 watts--enough to fully charge an electric car at the same rate as most residential plug-in chargers.
Delphi isn’t the only company working on charging solutions for electric vehicles. Evatran is working on a similar system to Delphi’s wireless charger, which you can read about by clicking here.
Wirelessly charging EVs isn't new. Back in the late 1990s, GM, Ford, and Toyota all used inductive charging paddles in electric cars. While the system required drivers to physically insert a charging ‘paddle' into a port on the car, the paddle actually formed an inductive charging system with a similar receptacle inside the charge port.