If ever there were an argument for wireless charging, taxis may be it. And as with most things in electric cars, if there's a way to demonstrate the technology in action, Norway may find it.
That's the impetus behind the country's latest effort to equip all of Oslo's taxi stands with wireless chargers. The city announced the plan in March, according to a Reuters report. The chargers will be installed by Finnish utility Fortum.
As long as taxis are sitting, waiting for passengers, they might as well be charging, and they'll start as soon as the cabbie pulls up, with no action needed from the driver.
Wireless charging technology for cars has been somewhat controversial, with many EV advocates dismissing the technology as less efficient than plugging in, because cars have to park precisely for maximum efficiency, and because of cost.
Some have said wireless charging won't make sense until wireless chargers can be run down long stretches of highway to replace the need for fast chargers that require cars to stop and drivers to plug in—and which, generally, can only accommodate one car at a time.
Taxis, however, could be the perfect (sorry) outlet for wireless chargers. While most private cars seldom travel more than 40 miles a day (and even fewer more than 80), taxi drivers often cover several hundred miles a day, have less control over their routes, and can't afford to sit for 45 minutes and wait for a charge.
They need to charge every chance they get. And while cabbies can't afford to stop for 45 minutes to charge, they often stop at airports or outside hotels to wait their turn for passengers.
In November, Oak Ridge National Laboratory demonstrated a 120-kilowatt wireless charger that could give an Oslo taxi a significant 90 miles of range in a 15-minute wait. With wireless chargers at all the taxi stands, drivers wouldn't need to charge up completely, but pick up a few additional miles every few runs.
Norway has announced plans to require all new cars to be electric by 2025, and for all taxis to be to be electric by 2023. That could be a lot more feasible with wireless chargers where they need to stop.