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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 bjacobson on 4/12/2012 2:27:54 PM , Rating: 2
If I go to my garage just one or two mornings out of the year and realize that I forgot to plug my car, the inconvenience would be irritating enough that I'd pay $100 to avoid it.

it's going to cost at least 10 times this.

RE: ...really?
By Schrag4 on 4/12/2012 4:04:49 PM , Rating: 2
...and that's just for the one-time cost to install a charging station. What about the added electricity costs due to losses? Are people who switch to an EV to save money on fuel really willing to increase their electricity consumption 25 or 50 percent for this convenience? I don't know what the actual losses will be, but I bet 25 percent isn't high...

RE: ...really?
By Mint on 4/12/2012 5:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
90% is perfectly doable with wireless transfer for the geometries involved. I've done it myself in my research on biomedical implants. As I mentioned above, $30/yr is the price of the efficiency loss: 10k miles / 3.3 miles/kWh * $0.10/kWh = $30. Adjust it to $40 or $50 if you want with different assumptions.

RE: ...really?
By Motoman on 4/14/2012 1:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
90% effeciency would be a catastrophe.

How many EV cars do you want to sell?

Let's say 1 million of them get sold to drivers in NYC.

Let's go with the low end of your estimate, and guess that $30 is lost per car per year.

There's $30 million in utterly wasted electricity per year, in one city. Electricity that was generated, transmitted, came to your house, and which you then threw away because you're too GD lazy to plug your car in.

Yeah. Great reasoning there.

RE: ...really?
By Mint on 4/16/2012 8:46:44 AM , Rating: 2
Why stop at that convenience? Why not outlaw dryers? People could use clothes lines. Why not outlaw 70 degree heating/ac? Un the winter, people could just wear jackets indoors and lower it to 60 degrees, while letting get to 80 degrees in the summer.

Those million EVs will cost $30B+ to build, and divert $1B/year in gas usage. If buyers want to spend 0.1% of their investment per year to make it a little more convenient, then let them.

RE: ...really?
By Mint on 4/12/2012 5:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
I think they'll come up with a solution for much less when it becomes a mass-produced item. I have experience with wireless power transfer. It's not that hard or expensive.

The only engineering/cost issue I see is heat dissipation, but being under a car should hopefully keep that a minor issue.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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