Monday, April 4, 2016

Wireless charging system for EVs is nearly as good as plugging in

A 20-kilowatt system is that much closer to making EV charging pads a practical reality.

Wireless charging for electric cars is already affordable, but it's still pretty limited: it's not the quickest option, and it's not even on the radar if you're driving large vehicles like trucks. Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are close to licking those problems once and for all, though. They've developed a 20-kilowatt wireless charging system that, at 90 percent efficiency, should be much more practical for topping up your car when pulling into the garage. The new design (which includes a mix of custom inversion, isolation transformers and electronics) is safe despite all the added electricity, since its magnetic fields drop off rapidly.
The current prototype is still a while away from becoming something you can buy, and you'd still want to plug in if you were in a hurry. However, the lab isn't stopping here. Its next goal is to make a 50kW wireless charger that would be as powerful as the quick chargers you can find on the market. When that happens, it'll both enable wireless charging for large vehicles and remove the last big reason to plug in. And there's more -- the researchers are also testing an on-the-move solution that would make it feasible for electric buses and other EVs to recharge while they're still on the road.

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