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Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted July 24, 2012

The development of electric vehicle infrastructure is essential for large-scale expansion of the industry.

Not that it doesn’t already have fans—plenty of celebrities have already bought into the industry, and Tesla’s more affordable Model S made a splash when it was released last month.

But these trends have all the trappings of a fad. Something else is needed to make it stick.

The biggest issue the industry has been facing, aside from the high prices of the vehicles, is a lack of infrastructure.

Mainly that means charging stations. Because EVs generally can’t travel long distances on a single charge, especially if they run strictly on electricity, charging stations are necessary to make the vehicle worthwhile.

Recently, ECOtality (NASDAQ: ECTY) announced that it would install its first Blink DC Fast Charger, which can charge most EVs in up to 30 minutes, at the Bishop Ranch business center in California.

And GE’s (NYSE: GE) WattStation charger can be installed at home for easy access to charging.

But researchers have been studying the possibility of wireless charging. What if you could charge your electric vehicle by doing little more than driving down the road?

Of course, that’s a long way off. But innovative technology still in the trial stages is moving much closer to that potential.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) obtained its wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) technology from HaloIPT Ltd. in late 2011.

The technology aims to do as the name implies: charge vehicles without any wired attachments.

Right now, the technology would go into creating a charging pad on which EV owners could park their vehicles. The pad would be activated by the presence of the vehicle, and it would then send a charge through the air gap between the ground pad and the receiving pad on the car’s bottom.

In the second half of 2012, London will be holding a WEVC trial, for which two companies have already agreed to install Qualcomm’s technology.

UK company Delta Motorsport has agreed to install the receiving pad on the underside of its Delta E-4 Coupe electric vehicles for the trial program, and French-based Renault SAS (EPA: RNO) will also use its vehicles in the trials.

The trial will be used to gain knowledge about the technology, obtain feedback from users, and determine how it would work on a larger scale.

From EE Times:

“The deployment of wireless inductive charging requires inter-operability between cars and ground systems within common European and, hopefully, worldwide standards,” said Jacques Hebrard, vice president at Renault, in a statement from Qualcomm.

And Qualcomm’s vice president of business development and marketing, Anthony Thomson, discussed the arrangement with Delta in a press release:

“Delta Motorsport has developed an advanced passenger EV that is a good platform to demonstrate our Qualcomm Halo Wireless EV Charging in pre-commercial deployments. Delta brings high-performance automotive engineering design to the London WEVC trial and the Delta E-4 Coupe displays technology at the cutting edge of EV innovation.”

A similar trial has already begun in the United States. The Apollo Launch Program, started by Evatran, began the first phase of WEVC trials in February 2012.

Companies like Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Hertz, and Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) took part in the first phase, and SPX Service Solutions has agreed to use the Chevy Volt in its participation in the second phase.

And maybe one day this technology could turn into large-scale highway installations. So all you’d have to do is drive.

That’s all for now,


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