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Funding winners will be announced this summer

There are many things keeping electric vehicles from entering the mainstream market today. Chief among those is limited driving range, high cost compared to a traditional vehicle, and hassles from having to plug the car in to charge at home and on the go. Electric vehicles will certainly get cheaper over the years as the technology matures, and battery breakthroughs will lengthen the driving range.
Now, the U.S. Energy Department is offering up to $4 million to develop wireless chargers for electric vehicles to address concerns with having to plug the vehicle for power. The goal is to develop wireless technology that would transfer power from the electric grid to the vehicle battery packs without the driver having to plug-in. The ability to simply pull into the garage or parking space and have your car automatically recharge would be a huge improvement over systems in place today.
The $4 million in funding is being made available through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technologies Program. The program believes that by offering wireless charging technology, consumers will be more likely to purchase electric vehicles. The hope is to accelerate the development of wireless charging solutions in the near-term with the funding opportunity.
The Energy Department wants to select as many as four projects for research and development and wireless charging systems that can be integrated into a production vehicle and tested in the real world. The department hopes vehicles using this technology could be on the roads within this decade. Four million dollars doesn't sound like a lot of funding for as many as four projects.
The selections for funding are expected to be announced this summer. The charger will be aimed at operators of light duty electric vehicles primarily focusing on static and possibly quasi-dynamic charging. The program deadline for letters of intent is April 25 with a full application submission deadline set at May 31 of this year.


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RE: ...really?
By darkhawk1980 on 4/12/2012 12:15:34 PM , Rating: 2
Your 10% loss would actually be on the extremely good side of things.

Go take a look at the wireless pads that they make for charging cell phones. Just to give you a rough idea, for my Samsung Galaxy Nexus, if I want to actually charge the phone, the screen has to be off, and at most only playing music. If I'm downloading anything in the background (ie using 3G or 4G/LTE), or have the screen on for navigation, the phone will still discharge, albeit slower than normal, but it still would discharge.

Take a look at the specs for the wireless chargers like that. 50% transfer of energy is actually good for those. And that's when it's sitting millimeters away from the charging pad. For a car, it'd be even worse.

What people don't understand is that it's actually 2 power conversions being done, you have to change the electricity into magnetic energy, and then it gets transmitted, and changed again from magnetic energy to electricity. 2 conversions for 1 process that means you lose a large amount of the power.

What I can say, is that whoever comes up with a better idea that works, will make a ton of money. I mean, Intel worked on something similar to this about 4 years ago, and gave up. Why? Because they couldn't figure out a way to transfer power without losing most of it.

RE: ...really?
By Motoman on 4/12/2012 12:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
Well exactly, and that's simply the physical nature of field induction. People don't understand how wildly inefficient it is.

Somewhere, Faraday is rolling in his grave.

RE: ...really?
By Mint on 4/13/2012 11:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
So you understand the physical nature of inductive power transfer? I do, and have done extensive experimentation with it for my PhD.

It can be wildly inefficient, and it can be efficient. It depends on the geometry. These aren't high clearance offroaders. EVs are much wider than their distance from the ground. They're also large, meaning they won't run into mass/size restrictions limiting the amount of copper and raising resistance. These conditions allow for very good efficiency in a well designed system.

RE: ...really?
By Motoman on 4/14/2012 1:27:37 PM , Rating: 2
...all of which are worse than the essentially zero-loss plug-in connection.

I don't care if the loss is 1%. That's still a massive waste.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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