Automotive

Consumer-ready wireless charger for EVs inches closer

Consumer-ready wireless charge...
Oak Ridge researchers have demonstrated the 20 kW wireless car charging technology using an electric Toyota RAV4 equipped with an extra 10 kWh battery
Oak Ridge researchers have demonstrated the 20 kW wireless car charging technology using an electric Toyota RAV4 equipped with an extra 10 kWh battery
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Oak Ridge researchers have demonstrated the 20 kW wireless car charging technology using an electric Toyota RAV4 equipped with an extra 10 kWh battery
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Oak Ridge researchers have demonstrated the 20 kW wireless car charging technology using an electric Toyota RAV4 equipped with an extra 10 kWh battery

Tesla and Chevrolet might have committed to mass-producing electric cars, but that doesn't mean everyone is ready to plug a battery-powered car into their garage every night. Depending on who you ask, wireless charging might just be the solution. Even if we can't quite expect every manhole or green lane to extend our range just yet, a team at Oak Ridge Laboratories believes it has come close to creating a wireless car charging system efficient enough to broaden the appeal of electric vehicles.

Oak Ridge's 20 kW wireless charger was created in collaboration with Toyota, Cisco, Evatran and Clemson University, and is reported to operate at 90 percent efficiency. Built around a unique architecture, the system features an inverter, isolation transformer, vehicle-side electronics and technologies to couple the individual parts together.

In keeping with the mass-market, consumer focus of the 3-year project, the researchers have focused on making its operation as simple as possible. Rather than relying on complex in-car electronics to manage the charge, Oak Ridge's system places a major emphasis on software-augmented radio communications to regulate power flow, which should make the leap to regular road use more reasonable.

Although you don't need to plug it in, the wireless system's 20 kW does look a bit weedy compared to the 120 kW offered by Tesla's Superchargers. So, to make sure the Oak Ridge wireless charging system isn't dismissed for being too slow, the team of researchers is already working on a 50 kW setup that, according to team leader Madhu Chinthavali, should be safe and fast.

"The high-frequency magnetic fields employed in power transfer across a large air gap are focused and shielded," Chinthavali said. "This means that magnetic fringe fields decrease rapidly to levels well below limits set by international standards, including inside the vehicle, to ensure personal safety."

The Oak Ridge project is, in part, aimed at meeting the US Department of Energy's challenge to make EVs as practical and affordable as petrol-powered cars by 2022. A video from the system's creators is below.

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratories

ORNL surges forward with 20-kilowatt wireless charging for electric vehicles

5 comments
jerryd
Until they can get it 95%+ eff, it increases power needs too much when most cars are EVs. For 99% eff and much lower cost with automatic plugs like the Tesla snake, overhead, slot in the road, etc. And let's remember 10% of 50kw is 5kw of heat under the EV which is 1-2 whole house heat or 3 ovens worth.
swaan
+1 jerryd! Unless we have really high efficiency, we most probably will have some variant of the Tesla snake charger cable.
HensleyBeuronGarlington
This is ridiculous crap compared to Tesla's wireless transmission of power. WHEN THE HELL IS SOMEONE GOING TO FIGURE THAT OUT! I'm so sick of wires and conductive charging. I want 100% long range wireless power transmission without wires!
habakak
From the video....we send $1 million per day to foreign countries to buy oil????? The US imports about 9 mbpd of oil currently....@ $30 per barrel, that's $270 million. It used to be $1+ billion a day (when oil was over $100 per barrel and we imported closer to 12 mbpd). Maths..... Other than that, induction charging is the perfect complementary tech to EV's (plug-in is just not all that practical and limited outside of a garage or parking lot).
Bruce Miller
There will come a day: but not from American laboratories. Expect the genius Harnessed by the communist Chinese to bring forth fruits very soon. In fact: these last two years they have registered more patents than the U.S.A., and like the U.S.A. they are keeping secret some of their newfound knowledge. Oil will see its doomsday approach in the next two decades as China's corporately incoercible Scientists march to a different tune than the profiteering that corrupts U.S. Science. Currently China exceeds the U.S.A. in nuclear technologies for peaceful uses. How to efficiently transfer electricity to a car? Beware the super capacitor and newer D.C. realities Americans . . .