U.S. Energy Department Offering up $4 Million to Develop Wireless EV Chargers
April 12, 2012 10:08 AM
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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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4/12/2012 4:59:11 PM
Whats needed is that people plug the car in every night after they've gone home and make it routine, regardless of wether the battery is full or empty. If it's routine, it won't be forgotten.
I've never forgotten my keys when i leave the house, never. Because i always keep them in my hand when i leave and close the door. If they're not in my hand, i don't leave. Likewise i could say, if the EV isn't plugged in i won't leave the garage. So that every time you want to leave the garage you'll check if your car is plugged in.
Now you'll have to forget 2 things, plugging it in and checking if you've plugged it in, before something goes wrong, making the risk of it happening smaller. If it costs a little effort, don't you think something as important as your daily transportation deserves that effort?
What can be automated, is the charger deciding when to actually charge the EV. Considering all the different factors (battery operating range of 30%-80%, charging speed being faster in the beginning and slower towards the end etc) there's no way to fill a battery like you'd fill a tank.
No good can come from allowing people to forget important stuff. In this example there isn't a single person that'll actually remember plugging it in once you're in a location that doesn't have a wireless charging system, but you need to charge it anyway.
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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