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Researchers show off EV charging through the tires

Several notable issues are preventing electric vehicles from entering the mainstream consumer market today. Perhaps the biggest issue that is keeping the average consumer from buying an electric vehicle is range anxiety. Another major issue for many car shoppers that might otherwise consider an EV is a much higher cost of entry compared to a traditional automobile.

Another more pressing concern is one of recharging an EV and finding a power receptacle when away from home. A team of researchers from the Toyohashi University of Technology has unveiled a very novel and much more interesting way to recharge an electric vehicle wirelessly. The team from the University is led by Takashi Ohira and has recently been showing off a wireless electric field coupling system that can charge an EVs batteries through the tires. The big benefits of this system are four points of charging, rather than one point that we typically see in other wireless charging systems. That opens the door to the possibility of transferring more power to the vehicle at one time resulting in faster recharging.

The researchers have been showing a demo where a metal charge plate is placed under a four-inch layer of concrete to represent road surface. The team was able to transmit between 50 and 60 W of power through actual automobile tires and make a light bulb attached between the two tires turn on. The University researchers call the project EVER (Electric Vehicle on Electrified Roadway).

Another interesting possibility with wireless charging through the tires is that the team has been able to demonstrate the ability to transmit that power through a concrete block and into the tires of the vehicle to charge the batteries. That means with the right infrastructure an electric vehicle could be charged as it drives down the road.

There is no indication of when or if this project might be commercialized.

The U.S. Energy Department recognizes that charging is a challenge facing EVs and in April of 2012 offered up to $4 million to companies willing to develop wireless chargers for EVs. So far, most of the wireless chargers we've seen consist of some sort of charger on the surface of the driveway or road and a receiver mounted to the underside of the vehicle.


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Is this a joke?
By futrtrubl on 7/11/2012 12:02:33 PM , Rating: 4
Four contact points make it better? The number of contact points was never the issue, since it's the cells themselves that limit charging rate. Even if the plug was the issue you could just make it bigger or as someone else said add more.
But more to the point 60 WHOLE WATTS!
The Nissan Leaf uses 34kWh per 100 miles. So at perfect efficiency you would have to charge the car for 5 hours and 40 minutes to travel 1 mile. Lets say this is used on roads charging while driving this means you could travel at 0.176mph without using stored battery energy. And significant improvements are not likely, certainly not the 100 fold increase needed to be useful.

RE: Is this a joke?
By Florinator on 7/11/2012 12:12:32 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely! I like people with more-than-average math skills ;-)

RE: Is this a joke?
By WayneCoffee on 7/11/2012 12:48:19 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you on the "contact points" with current battery technology. Who knows if the cells are still the buttleneck in 10 or 20 years. It's not a bad thing to have more contact points, for the future.
As for "60 watts", it's only a research project. You always start on small scale to validate the theory and concept, and then scale up. It may or may not work at full scale, but that's the general process of a research project. Calculating how much time it takes to recharge with 60 watts doesn't mean anything right now.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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