With growing interest in wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) – the technology that means electric vehicles can recharge while parked – we are only a few years away from seeing it in production cars.
That’s the prediction from Qualcomm Technologies, which is now testing the next step – a system that allows EVs to recharge on the move.
“A question I get asked a lot is when can I buy a vehicle with WEVC installed and ready to use,” Michael Kissin, director of engineering at Qualcomm New Zealand, said. “The number of development contracts and requests for quotation from automotive OEMs is on the increase. We expect that production orders will be placed soon, and we will start to see WEVC systems on production vehicles in the next two to three years.”
Qualcomm is using similar technology for its dynamic electric vehicle charging (DEVC), which allows cars to charge while driving. Kissin says the technology has been tested and proven.
Two Renault Kangoo ZE vehicles recently sped along a specially built track near Paris, simultaneously picking up a charge of up to 20kW at speeds of around 100km/h (62mph).
Qualcomm is working on this project with research firm Vedecom, which installed the primary part of the DEVC system in the 100m test track and the receiver part in the Renaults.
The DEVC system has now been left with Vedecom to test as part of FABRIC, a €9 ($10) million project partly-funded by the European Union that is looking at the feasibility of wireless DEVC as a means of EV range extension.
The next set of tests will evaluate the operation and efficiency of energy transfer to the vehicles for a wide range of practical scenarios including vehicle identification and authorisation on entering track, power level agreement between track and vehicle, and speed and alignment of the vehicle along the track.
The test track comprised four 25m stubs, each powering 14 Base Array Network (BAN) blocks coupled magnetically into the backbone cable. The power is transmitted across the air gap to two 10kW vehicle pads located under the EV. The vehicle system converts the 85-kHz AC and delivers DC power as requested to the EV’s battery management system.
The FABRIC project began in January 2014 and will continue until the end of 2017.
Eric Feunteun, electric vehicle program director at Renault, said: “We see dynamic charging as a great vision to further enhance the ease of use of EVs, and the accessibility of EVs for all.”