Making charging faster and more effortless would go a long way to driving the adoption of electric vehicles, and inductive charging mats have long-promised to slide onto the scene and beneath our cars to do just that. Continental AG has today announced that it will be bringing its version of the technology along to CES next month, along with a new onboard charging system promised to give EV owners greater flexibility.
Inductive charging systems, such as those BMW, Mercedes, other big automakers and smaller startups have teased us with for years, would be a game-changer for electric vehicles. Instead of plugging their rides into a socket, EV owners could position the car over the top of a plate, where a primary coil transmits power wirelessly to another charging coil in the car through magnetic induction.
Continental says the 11 kW rate of its inductive system can offer a kilometer (0.6 mi) of range for every minute of charging. It would also make use of what the company describes as a "micronavigation" to automatically position the car over the charging pad with 10 times the accuracy of a typical parking assistant.
Also on show at CES will be the company's AllCharge system. This essentially integrates the dedicated inverter, the component that converts electricity from an alternating current (AC) charging station into the direct current (DC) needed for electric vehicles, into a modified drivetrain.
The result, Continental boldly says, is a universal onboard charger that "can utilize any charging point whatever the charging rate, type of current or voltage level," and receive enough juice in 10 minutes for 300 km (186 mi) of range. That would be significant indeed. And it touts one other advantage of the AllCharge system: it would effectively turn the EV into a mobile energy bank, because the onboard inverter can also convert DC into AC that can be used to power devices.
Continental says production for AllCharge is planned for 2022. Meanwhile it will be showing off an early version of that and its inductive charging system at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, which kicks off on January 8.
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