Renault, Qualcomm show off electric-car road charging at 60 mph

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Dynamic wireless electric car charging testing using a Renault Kangoo Z.E.

Dynamic wireless electric car charging testing using a Renault Kangoo Z.E.

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It's long been an inspiring futuristic concept: electric cars that can recharge continuously at speed, driving along roadways with built-in inductive charging.

Think a modern-day version of slot cars, but at 1:1 scale.

Now French automaker Renault has demonstrated a prototype of just such a system, briefly recharging one of its electric cars at 60 miles per hour.

DON'T MISS: How wireless charging works for electric cars, explained

The French automaker that builds more electric cars than any other European maker partnered with electronics company Qualcomm to develop what it calls a "dynamic wireless electric-vehicle charging" system.

The prototype demonstrated last week allowed charging at up to 20 kilowatts at speeds up to 100 km/h (62 mph) and higher.

The demonstration cars were a pair of Renault Kangoo ZE electric small delivery vans, shown on a test track in Versailles, near Paris.

Dynamic wireless electric car charging testing using a Renault Kangoo Z.E.

Dynamic wireless electric car charging testing using a Renault Kangoo Z.E.

Enlarge Photo

Qualcomm and a French firm, Vedecom, installed the charging equipment in the test track.

Renault, meanwhile, modified its electric vans with the system that permitted wireless charging.

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The goal of the tests, the companies said, is to assess the "operation and efficiency of energy transfer to the vehicles for a wide range of practical scenarios."

Among the communications between vehicle and track are those that identify the vehicle and authorize it to begin charging, negotiate over the level of power to be provided, and keep the vehicle aligned on the charging strip at an appropriate speed.

Dynamic wireless electric car charging testing using a Renault Kangoo Z.E.

Dynamic wireless electric car charging testing using a Renault Kangoo Z.E.

Enlarge Photo

The test is part of a 9-million-euro project known as Fabric, partly funded by the European Union, to evaluate the technology feasibility, business models, and sustainability of wireless on-road charging.

Fabric began in January 2014, and will continue through the end of this year; it's made up of 25 partners from nine European countries.

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They include automakers, parts suppliers, and researchers from across the auto industry, the energy supplier world, and the transportation and roadway sector.

"We see dynamic charging as a great vision to further enhance the ease of use of electric vehicles," said Eric Feunteun, Renault's electric-vehicle program director, "and the accessibility of EVs for all.”

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