Automotive

Student-built E-Quickie electric vehicle draws energy wirelessly from the road

Student-built E-Quickie electr...
The E-Quickie draws energy from electric conducting paths on the ground
The E-Quickie draws energy from electric conducting paths on the ground
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The E-Quickie weighs just 60kg (132lb)
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The E-Quickie weighs just 60kg (132lb)
The E-Quickie's monster 2kW motor
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The E-Quickie's monster 2kW motor
The E-Quickie draws energy from electric conducting paths on the ground
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The E-Quickie draws energy from electric conducting paths on the ground
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Over the last couple of years there have been a number of wireless chargers hitting the market, such as the Powermat and the WildCharge. These are designed to keep mobile devices charged and ready without dealing with the hassle of cords and connections. The technology has also been proposed as a way to recharge vehicles while they are parked without having to plug them in, while some companies are looking at charging cars while they are moving from electrical conductors embedded in the road. Now, a group of students in Germany has taken that idea and run with it by building an electric vehicle called the E-Quickie that runs on wireless power transmission.

Looking a bit like a recumbent bike with a driver’s cabin, the E-Quickie was built by students at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HsKA) to investigate the practicality of a wirelessly powered electric vehicle. It gets its energy from electric conducting paths on the ground with receivers underneath the car taking energy from the tracks through electric induction and directing it to the car’s electrical hub drive.

One student working group took care of setting up the racing track, which was provided by the firm SEW, in Bruchsal. Two other teams were dedicated to the vehicle’s energy absorption and the safety of the entire system.

The E-Quickie weighs just 60kg (132lb)
The E-Quickie weighs just 60kg (132lb)

They designed the individual vehicle components, such as the steering and braking system and the chassis, using high-tech materials. Keeping the weight of the vehicle to a minimum and its aerodynamics were also important factors for designing the outer skin of the vehicle’s body, for which the students used carbon fiber. Before construction of the vehicle, all its components and finally the whole vehicle were optimized by computer in a virtual wind channel.

The end result was a three-wheeled vehicle that weighs just 60kg (132lb). However, Prof. Jürgen Walter from the faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics and head of the project is confident this can be reduced to 40kg (88lb) through further optimization.

“With other vehicle types you have a weight ratio between driver and vehicle of 1:10/1:15. We’re aiming for a ratio of 1:2 through further development of the E-Quickie,” said Walter.

Even though the vehicle’s motor only has a horsepower of 2kW, its light weight means it is still able to reach a speed of 50km/h (31mph). Even though the vehicle draws its power from the track, it still has batteries onboard. However, these serve only as a buffer and are therefore much smaller than those found in other electric cars which draw energy from batteries exclusively.

The E-Quickie's monster 2kW motor
The E-Quickie's monster 2kW motor

“The aim was not only to show how quickly you can move around with the E-Quickie, but most of all how energy efficient the car is”, explains Walter. “We went to the start with half-filled batteries and returned with full ones.” For what then are batteries used for in this system of energy transfer? As soon as the car leaves the electrical conductor tracks, the power supply to the motor is interrupted. “Here the small accumulators then jump on-board the E-Quickie as an energy buffer,” explains Walter, “for example when it’s driven into the garage.”

The team has already achieved success: On May 19-20 this year, the students took part in the Karlsruhe E-Meile, completing 40 laps on the 222-meter (728-ft) conductor track. The team plans to use the test track at the HsKA campus to continue optimizing the vehicle for reduced energy consumption and weight.

Via AutoMotto

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15 comments
dreamer.redeemer
With all the technologies that Gizmag and many other sites have covered, I think the optimum future for transportation is in plain view. I have seen it, and have written about it on my blog (http://rootproblem.blogspot.com). The perfect car replacement is an electric assisted velomobile (pedalcar), with electricity transferred from a solar panel roadway and navigation handled autonomously. The result is maximum energy efficiency, increased physical fitness, pollution reduction, rapid transit, the disappearance of automobile related fatalities, increased mean wealth, and the list goes on...
froginapot
As much as I love this.... And I do!!! Yeah students!!!!! My big question is what is the energy cost of getting the energy from the imbedded wires in the track??? So you create electricity from some source. It is connected to the track.... A vehicle runs over and extracts the electricity..... How much of the energy did the work and how much was lost in transmission.... Some have been referred to as a 60% loss...... This is a big issue for this type of devices... I wish you well...
PrometheusGoneWild.com
I agree with froginapot. Without a discussion of energy efficiency this post is pointless. Now I am not only talking about efficiency of the power from the generating station to the vehicle (including transmission from road to vehicle), but also a comparison of this systems efficiency to an internal combustion engine and its distribution. This system could be 50% efficient and still come out on top. Internal combustion gas engines are usually between 25-30% efficiency. Most of the power is lost to heat and mechanical friction. Diesel engines are a bit better. Considering the oil comes thousands of miles away, must be refined, and then transported by truck to a station, this electrical system may be a winner. -Dennis www.PrometheusGoneWild.com
Will, the tink
For all the hassle that alt-energy vehicles have to overcome, I still think that hydrogen-powered vehicles or perhaps hydrogen/electric hybrids will still eventually come out on top. Power or fuel storage is still the stumbling block for EV and hydrogen to a lesser extent. I hope that one of the more efficient/cheaper hydrogen generation methods that have been covered in Gizmag will actually go commercial. Cheaper materials for construction of fuel cells would help also. Just my US two cents (which has gotten so cheap I can afford to leave my opinion fairly often!) O-)
PrometheusGoneWild.com
On the flipside of my first comment, I wish they would be doing this with a real electric car (they are now readily available) and not some super light-weight thing no one will want to but as a real car. If they were using a real car, they might actually get a town or city somewhere to apply for government funding to put in an electrified road as a test bed. They will have to work out problems of snow, snow plowing, rain and installation issues.... -Dennis
toneill4
If electric cars are going to be run on electric batteries, why can\'t they get their electricity from , wind that turns the fan belt or friction from the tires while they are in motion?
warren52nz
Another issue that\'s bound to emerge with this technology is the safety of people in such high electric and magnetic fields. Rightly or wrongly there\'s a lot of concern amongst the public about such things. The energy it takes to communicate (cell sites) and the energy it takes to push along a vehicle are MILES apart!
Reports of cancer from people living under power pylons, although contested by many, will be the subject of complaints for decades to come I bet. Unless the coupling is so close that the stray fields impinging on the body are minimized, this will have to be dealt with. I suspect other methods will win out.
Mr Stiffy
Serreiously?
A chick in a kevlar tube with a battery behind a panel, and a inductive pickup slung underneath it....
Given that this does 50Kmh tops.....
a) Why the full on crash helmet? and
b) Why the Nomex fire suit?
I suppose she lay upon a launch rated astronauts seat too..........
gtStudent1101
Inductive charging does not solve any of our transportation issues. Inductive charging is not efficient. We have taken the issue of an inefficient gas car, and came up with the solution of an inefficient electric car. Inductive charging requires electric current to constantly be passed through coils, which would require an enormous power source. Using batteries to power an electric car though, is still the best solution. The reason being is that solar electricity could be pumped into the grid during the daytime, and the battery powered electric cars could store this electricity. At night the electric cars not in use could pump electricity where needed. Which would allow battery powered electric cars to use solar energy during all hours of the day. Also, in a battery powered electric vehicle, power is only used when needed, whereas with induction we would need to power the conductor tracks twenty four-seven. Finally, somebody would have to pay for the infrastructure and energy costs. The obvious solution would be to charge per kilowatt of electricity used. This would most likely require a government organization to bill each person, and truth be told, who wants another government organization dictating to us?
BreathontheWind
There are several interesting solutions offered by this idea. Congestion is a problem that will not be addressed by any alternative fuel. Vehicles computer guided roadways are the only way to pack more vehicle into the same roadway with densities that would be unsafe for human control.

Electric power from roadways is probably cheaper than buying and eventually replacing batteries. It means that a vehicle might be driver less and not require stops shipping companies would love that. Such a system would make electric vehicle range and battery cost obsolete issues. City planners hope to have all taxis and buses on such a system in S. Korea by 2020.

With respect to concerns over efficiency and EMF. There may be 3 or 4 types of systems for transmitting power wirelessly (induction. capacitor resonance, laser, Tesla\'s secret?) Articles on EMF concerns with induction charging systems seem to suggest a level within reasonable and safe expectations. Also it may not be necessary to have the system complete if some energy storage were on the vehicle. Ultracapacitor buses run in Singapore with several miles between stations. Imagine charging vehicles at all stoplights.

Such systems typically have around a 10% transmission loss (The EV1 charging system was by induction paddle) I have not seen any system that had greater than a 20% loss although there may be some.

Such a system would be more cost effective where there were many vehicles. Cities and some toll roads may be the first adapters of such technology.