Will Wireless Electric-Car Charging Be The Next Big Thing?

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Hertz Tests Evatran Wireless Electric Car Charging

Hertz Tests Evatran Wireless Electric Car Charging

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How will you be charging your electric car in future? In your garage? At work? At a rest stop somewhere with a fast charger?

Or will you be using a wireless charger, embedded in a parking spot somewhere, that you can simply park over and forget about?

It's a question many are asking, and one Evatran, a Morrisville electric charging startup, is trying to answer.

Evatran is betting on wireless charging being the next big thing with electric cars, and according to the Charlotte Observer, the concept has already been adopted by tool and appliance chain Sears, which plans to sell and install garage-based versions of the wireless system.

Wireless charging is a simple concept. Also known as inductive charging, electric coils mounted in the ground pad and the vehicle create an electromagnetic field which is converted into electrical current, charging the battery.

The ground pad can be mounted under flooring, protecting it from the elements, and deterring thieves. The distance between floor unit and car is around six inches, and charges at 240 volts.

It's all about convenience, according to Evatran. Not just from being able to park and forget with its Plugless Power system, but also to avoid having to handle dirty or damp charging plugs--or avoid spending a minute fumbling with the cord in a rainstorm.

The company also wants to beat the rush towards new technologies, too. By testing and introducing the system now, it's more likely to be ready as electric cars get more popular.

Several companies are already testing, or about to test Evatran's system, including Duke Energy, Google, Clemson University, Hertz Rent A Car and others.

At the moment, the system is only compatible with the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. That's not proving to be too much of a barrier it seems, as Evatran has already received 180 online reservations for its Plugless Power units. Auto dealers would be required to install the car-mounted part of the unit.

The unit is expected to retail for less than $3,000, not including installation. That's significantly more than conventional rechargers, but Evatran expects that the convenience factor will draw in the buyers.

So is wireless charging the future of electric cars? Or should some other aspect of electric ownership be prioritized first? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Comments (15)
  1. I would be interested to know if any efficiency numbers are available. Seems like a lot of energy would be lost.

  2. John,
    The literature claims a Transfer Efficiency of 90% for the Evatran. The Delphi literature I have is less specific.

  3. I wonder how close they have to be for that type of efficiency? 90% is not too bad.

    Seems like the transmitter should be very thin, or a hole should be cut into the concrete for the transmitter and the wire. Otherwise we have a real trip hazard.

    Note carefully in the photograph, there is no wire. I used to do that type of product development. We removed the wires for the photo too. Something tells me this requires a substantial wire.

  4. http://www.solarroadways.com/main.html

    hopefully this system will get off the ground. first plan of attack is big parking lots.

  5. There's no particular reason that I can see for continued high prices, although that would be more of an issue for home units rather than public units. Certainly such a technology would be
    a huge advance over plug in for a certain segment of the population, i.e. those who are leery about electricity, especially lethal levels of same.

  6. If there is a future for level 2 charging it would look like this rather than messy and vulnerable above ground structures. I can't think of too many situations in which level 2 charging is useful though (except at home, where a cord would work fine too and be more efficient)since it adds so little miles to one's range during short term parking. I would be more optimistic about this system if it worked for fast charging too.

    Also I still consider the idea of integrating inductive charging in road surfaces so cars can charge on the move as an interesting alternative for large car batteries.

  7. I think it is an excellent idea and it only make sense since they will be locked to the pavement to make them all quick charge; I never was a fan of trickle down anything or slithery long looking things, especially if it is running or slithering down your leg.

  8. Ah are we still talking about electric vehicles here :)

  9. Maybe, why, who is asking? If you had that charger in your garage, you could put it on a jack and lift it up until it touches the coil on your car and that should give you 100%. If you have to charge away from home, you take what's available and deal with it.

  10. Wireless charging is too inefficient. When I charge, I want the charge process to be as efficient as possible. A lot depends on the distance between the stationary coil and the pickup coil in the car. The more distance the less efficiency.

  11. Let's assume 90% efficiency, although I can assure you THAT isn't happening.

    So I loose 10% of each 8.2 cent kilowatt hour. At 30kwh that's 24.6 cents each time I charge.

    It takes me about 8 seconds to plug in my car. Is eight seconds of your time worth a quarter?. It's a little over $100 per hour.

    Jack Rickard

  12. ...or 25 cents a day?

  13. This is a very good sign that electric vehicles are becoming more of a reality instead of a novelty. The fact that people are already finding the best ways to easily charge electric cars tells me they are not only here to stay. But someday fossil fuel vehicles wont be aloud in certain areas because of the leaking oil and lubricants.

  14. I think about the liquids cars leak all the time because I live near the water. Most of the storm drains in my neighborhood drain into the bay, infact sometimes during high tide bay water comes up these drains. And near the dock where people put their boats into the water there are tons of oil spots along the areas where they park their trucks. I think low lying areas near bodies of water or coastlines should be the first places to enforce some kind of laws or guidelines concerning gasoline powered cars.

  15. For the increasing number of people with electronic medical implants, inductive charging is bad news. They cannot tolerate or be near these kind of oscillating strong magnetic fields.

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