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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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RE: Don't really get it.
By Etsp on 7/11/2012 12:04:55 PM , Rating: 2
A small percentage loss is not a "massive price to pay".

We have an electric infrastructure on the brink of collapse in many places, so this means wireless and inductive charging is bad? Because of a small percentage of loss?

I admit, the examples they used were somewhat extreme, but that didn't make them completely invalid.

A more reasonable example would be swimming pools and sprinklers being used in places during a drought, and those same swimming pools and sprinklers being used in an area with more than enough rainfall. Though that example is extreme going the other direction.

It's good for some places, bad for others. The places that have an adequate electric infrastructure can utilize this technology, while the places that do not should invest in their infrastructure first.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Motoman on 7/11/2012 12:28:40 PM , Rating: 3
A small percentage loss most certainly is a "massive price to pay" when looked at from the standpoint of some measure of a population.

Quick math lesson: let's say there's 10 million people in NYC. Let's say that half of them own cars...5 million. Let's say that 1 in five of them would own an EV - one million. One million EVs in NYC alone.

Let's say that it takes $50 a month to charge your EV every night. Let's presume that 5% of that is wasted because of field induction. That's only $2.50 per month - big deal, right? Who cares about an individual person losing $2.50 a month because they're too lazy to plug their car in? Small price to pay, right?


Remember, there's a million of them in NYC alone. So, that $2.50 per month suddenly becomes $2.5 MILLION. Per month. $30 million per year. Just in NYC.

"Small price to pay?" Only if you're a total f%cking retard.

RE: Don't really get it.
By kingmotley on 7/11/2012 12:35:14 PM , Rating: 2
And they are probably spending $20 a month on other useless stuff.

Worrying about $2.50 a month is a problem only if you're a total f%cking retard.

Or let's do some more quick math. Those million people are probably driving their cars ~12000 miles per year, or ~1000 miles per month. On average, you can expect about 17 MPG from cars in the city, so they burning 59 gallons of gas per month. At $8/gallon (the true cost of gas after factoring in the government subsidies), that's $472 in gas per person per month that we're handing over to the middle east, so they can afford to train terrorist to fly planes into our buildings.

Crying about wasting $2.50 over sending $472 to the middle east is f%cking retarded.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Motoman on 7/11/2012 12:39:49 PM , Rating: 1
You've just proven your own stupidity beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Point out that we're wasteful elsewhere already is NOT a justification to create new waste.

Period. You actually have no argument at all.

RE: Don't really get it.
By kingmotley on 7/11/2012 1:22:41 PM , Rating: 2
Ah yes, try to insult my intelligence. Please continue. I'm going to go and cry myself to sleep tonight because some internet noob sitting in his mothers basement thinks I'm stupid, contrary to all other tests, signs, and awards I've received.

The points, since you are too dense to be able to infer them yourself are that this technology is well within the tolerance that the general public is willing to accept AND adopting it will generate a net positive effect for the US despite the minor waste.

Your argument is that it's not a utopian answer to the worlds problems and therefore stupid and not worth pursuing.

Now, which of us is making a silly argument?

Following your logic, most of the worlds major inventions were stupid and not worth pursuing. Radio, TV, cellphones -- use way too much energy to be worthwhile compared to their wired counterparts. Cars waste fossil fuels compared to good old horse and buggies -- who needs to go over 20 MPH anyhow? The electric light bulb requires huge amounts of infrastructure to be built that wastes nearly 80% of it's output in transmission -- let's wait for something that's 100% effective. Semiconductors waste tons of electricity by generating unused heat -- let's wait for something that is 100% efficient. And on and on. Please do society a favor and stop trying to hold back progress in your attempt to get to utopia. You can't get there from here without crossing any bridges.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Motoman on 7/11/2012 1:31:58 PM , Rating: 3
You're projecting your own stupidity upon others...and it's not working.

The problem is that you *can* recharge your car in a 100% efficient manner (at the point of consumption). Plug it in.

You can't do radio that way...or TV, etc. Your comparisons are ignorant.

Light bulbs are as efficient as we can make them. So on and so forth.

Any losses such things have are unavoidable - which isn't to say we shouldn't keep working on making them more efficient, and of course we are.

But there's a guaranteed way to stop the needless waste of energy at the point of consumption when charging your car. It's here today, and doesn't need any further R&D.

It's called "plug in your f%cking car." There. Fixed. Best it can be.

RE: Don't really get it.
By kingmotley on 7/11/2012 1:46:10 PM , Rating: 1
Really? You can't do radio with a wire? You don't think hardline phones are more efficient than say a cell phone?

You are deluded, and you need a history lesson on electric power transmission.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Motoman on 7/11/2012 2:06:19 PM , Rating: 2
You can't walk around with a phone unless it's wireless. You want to ban cell phones because they're inefficient? Knock yourself out - there's no alternative.

The radio in your car has to be wireless, or else you couldn't drive your car anywhere.

You can, however, plug your car in when you get home from work and get the same thing done as wireless induction. Without the loss.

Your comparisons continue to be invalid - just as you yourself are.

RE: Don't really get it.
By EnzoFX on 7/11/2012 2:59:08 PM , Rating: 2
Is it not comparable to the money wasted on gas? The gas engine too is horribly inefficient. So as long as it turns out to be less than that, hell even if it was the same, it'd be worth it just to get off the foreign stuff.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Motoman on 7/11/2012 4:00:38 PM , Rating: 3
The ICE engine is as efficient as we can make it.

Using field induction to charge your EV is unnecessarily wasteful.

A proper comparison would be filling the tank of your ICE car and then proceeding to spill 5% more fuel on the ground when your tank's full.

And then declaring "hey, I can afford to pay for this gas that I just wasted, so what the f%ck do you care?"

...what I care about is not senselessly wasting energy, just because you can.

For the same reason that it would be stupid to waste 5% of our gas by pouring it out onto the ground when fueling, it's equally stupid to waste 5% of our electricity by using field induction.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Motamid on 7/11/2012 9:20:16 PM , Rating: 2
I think what they were implying in the article and one of the main reasons this wireless charging is desirable, is that by placing them under the road they can recharge your car as you drive. Of course building such an infrastructure is a huge effort, but this could reduce the size of the battery necessary for EV's as they rarely leave the charging station. This could potentially increase the efficiency of the system overall as the car will be lighter and more efficient itself.

I think that in this case cell phones are a good analogy. When the technology was emerging, cell phones required a huge infrastructure investment and were less power efficient than the land lines that already existed. However, they have the benefit of improved mobility.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Paj on 7/12/2012 9:18:38 AM , Rating: 2
...what I care about is not senselessly wasting energy, just because you can.

Most power generation methods are extraordinarily wasteful due to heat loss, not to mention IC engines. all have this problem. Then you have transmission losses to contend with too.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Motoman on 7/12/2012 10:32:27 AM , Rating: 2
Which is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. The efficiency of the power generation has nothing to do with what we're talking about.

We're talking about purposefully throwing away a certain % of the power you've already generated because you're a lazy moron.

The correct analogy from an ICE standpoint would be filling your gas tank at the gas station (say you have a 20 gallon tank) and then just pumping another gallon onto the ground to waste it. You're just throwing it away, for no reason at all, other than apparently you really want to be wasteful.

Same thing as using field induction to charge your car because you're too lazy to plug it in. You're throwing away electricity for no reason at all.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Mint on 7/12/2012 1:19:01 PM , Rating: 2
The analogies aren't irrelevant at all.

You can wash dishes by hand (without filling the sink with water). You can hang clothes on a line instead of using the dryer. You can use the AC in your house less, or live in a smaller one to reduce energy demands. We can do a million things to save energy but we don't because they're inconvenient or compromise luxury, often only in a minor way.

Plugging in a car is similarly inconvenient, especially when you simply forget, at best forcing you to use fossil fuels in a PHEV the next day and at worst forcing you to call a cab because your pure EV can't be used until it's recharged.

It's a free world. If people want to pay for wasted electricity, let them. Electric cars will mostly be charged at night when electricity demands are low anyway.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Motoman on 7/12/2012 4:08:16 PM , Rating: 2
They are irrelevant, but I can make them relevant by tweaking all of them thusly:

You can wash dishes by hand...and spill 5% more water than needed and 5% more soap than needed onto the floor, just because you can afford to waste it.

You can hang clothes on a line...if you just throw 5% of them on the ground, such that the effort/resources you spent washing them is wasted, and they need to be washed again.

...the point isn't that one thing is necessarily more or less "efficient" than another. It's PURPOSEFULLY being wasteful when a no-waste option is easily at hand (for the same process...not saying don't use a dishwasher because hand washing is cheaper...I'm saying don't run the dishwasher one more time when it's empty just because you can afford the soap, water, and electricity to do so).

We simply don't need to introduce new ways to waste energy.

Especially electricity, and especially when we can't generate enough to meet demand in many places already, and especially when the grid as a whole is ready to teeter over in many places already.

RE: Don't really get it.
By NellyFromMA on 7/11/2012 1:06:12 PM , Rating: 2
NO ONE other than maybe grandma drives only 12k miles a year. not anywhere near close to true estimates.

also, what's the problem with people thinking for themselves? The point is if an EV is meant to make us more efficient in terms of voerall energy use, WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY must we dig out trenches in so hard over the LEAST EFFICIENT means of transferring the energy to the vehicle in the first place.

It just seems 100% COUNTER to the entire arguement for EVs in the first place...

RE: Don't really get it.
By kingmotley on 7/11/2012 1:11:55 PM , Rating: 1
Actually grandma drives under 8k per year, and the actual average is 13,476.

RE: Don't really get it.
By JediJeb on 7/11/2012 2:18:21 PM , Rating: 3
And they are probably spending $20 a month on other useless stuff.

But if you shift that 20$ per month on other "usless stuff" into paying for wasted energy, then you shift that money from other segments of the economy into the energy portion of the economy, which may or may not return it to the rest of the economy. Why should we have different portions of the economy take a hit just to shift it to the energy portion?

I am not against novel ideas like this, but we must make then as efficient as possible and take all the possible waste into account before jumping on board. The other question to ask is what do the EM fields from this do to everything else?

RE: Don't really get it.
By Motoman on 7/11/2012 2:27:05 PM , Rating: 2
The other question to ask is what do the EM fields from this do to everything else?

Nothing. Unless you're wearing a tinfoil hat, in which case the NSA can hear your thoughts.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Mint on 7/12/2012 2:17:25 PM , Rating: 2
Better math lesson: a small percentage of one car multiplied by a million cars is still a small percentage of the total.

Let's look at some facts:

Say we're looking at 4000kWh/yr (~12k electric miles/yr), or 200kWh/yr wasted. Multiply by a million cars (that'll take what, 10 years to achieve?), and you get 200 GWh/yr. NY current electricity consumption is 162,000 GWh/yr, so you're crying over ~0.1%, all of which is paid for by people WHO CHOSE TO PAY MORE FOR THE CONVENIENCE of wireless charging. Your $30M figure only sounds big in isolation, but if you had any sense of scale, you'd realize that it's irrelevant.

If the charging happens in 6 hours of each night, the wastage of 1M wireless chargers will add a load of ~150MW. NY has a generation capacity of 38,622 MW, which is 5000 MW above the summer peak demand, 20,000 MW above the average demand, and even more above the nighttime load. So no, 1M wireless EV chargers isn't going to make any extra strain whatsoever on the NY electricity infrastructure.

If anything, adding nightime load will make average electricity prices go down, because that's the cheapest time to add marginal generation.

RE: Don't really get it.
By bah12 on 7/11/2012 12:41:37 PM , Rating: 3
Economics of Scale my friend. The number of cars on the road is HUGE. If we want to build a EV culture we need to think ahead. Right now it isn't massive, but in the future it would be.

Take this link as an example.

It is about the gas consumption related to day time running lights (DTRL). DTRL put an extremely miniscual strain on your engine via current draw, and therefor a very small impact on fuel consumption. A very small % loss as you say. Problem is if DTRL were standard, using some conservative estimates, the US would use 2 MILLON gallons extra of fuel annually.

The article is a neat read on how scaling small changes up can end up with some pretty big numbers. And we are talking a VERY small 1% loss. Induction charging would be talking double digits losses. So yes the idea absolutely needs to die.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Etsp on 7/11/2012 1:32:34 PM , Rating: 2
If we want to build an EV culture, it also needs to be convenient. If it's difficult, or requires more maintenance, then people won't buy it. Needing to remember to plug it in every day is considered a nuisance.

If they can increase the efficiency of inductive charging to the point that it's < 2% of loss, that is definitely worth the tradeoff if it causes 5% more cars on the road to be EVs, even at scale.

Lets not forget the rising efficiencies of Solar panels and the dropping costs of them. 5-10 years down the road they will definitely be worth the investment for homeowners (unless current energy prices drop), offsetting that issue.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Motoman on 7/11/2012 1:40:57 PM , Rating: 2
How, exactly, is spending 10 seconds plugging your car in when you get home from work less convenient than spending 10 minutes filling your tank at a gas station?

You have no argument.

You're also pretending that there's no possible way that an automatic direct connection could be made to recharge the vehicle without field induction. Contact plate on the floor with an RFID chip that communicates to the car to tell the driver when to stop when you pull into your garage. Then a plate automatically lowers from the car to mate up to the one on the floor and *presto* - physical connection with no (or close to no) loss. And I just invented that in the 10 seconds it took me to write this.

Which, incidentally, is probably about the same amount of time it'd take you to plug the car in anyway.

RE: Don't really get it.
By bah12 on 7/11/2012 1:48:05 PM , Rating: 2
Man you and I are totally in sync today :)

RE: Don't really get it.
By Motoman on 7/11/2012 2:29:00 PM , Rating: 2
lol - I'm 6 minutes into ur futur...stealin ur ideaz.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Etsp on 7/11/2012 2:34:30 PM , Rating: 1
How, exactly, is spending 10 seconds plugging your car in when you get home from work less convenient than spending 10 minutes filling your tank at a gas station?
It's something you need to do EVERY TIME you go home, instead of once a week for one. Another, if you do forget to do it, and your daily commute is more than 50% of the EV's charge, you're screwed for however long it will take to charge when you find out the next morning.

It's not like gas where if you forget to get it on the way home, you can just stop on the way to work to get some.

All I'm saying is that a small percentage loss in efficiency does not automatically disqualify a technology. Current inductive technology is not a small percentage loss at this point, but that can change in the future.

Yes, they can make charging solutions that automatically connect to the car, and that would be a more efficient. It would also be more expensive to make, less reliable, and potentially less safe.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Motoman on 7/11/2012 2:42:55 PM , Rating: 2
All I'm saying is that a small percentage loss in efficiency does not automatically disqualify a technology.

In this case, it does. Or would, if we weren't all so stupid and lazy.

Current inductive technology is not a small percentage loss at this point, but that can change in the future.

Max Faraday would disagree with you. They might gain tiny bits here and there, but it will never be as efficient as a physical connection, which is essentially lossless. Physics dictates that field induction will always have losses. And even if it's cut to 1%, my argument still stands.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Mint on 7/12/2012 2:30:44 PM , Rating: 2
Too bad you're so incompetent at math.

It only takes one forgetful evening after 250+ hard days of work per year (i.e. a 0.4% error rate) to give you a headache the next morning when you have to deal with an uncharged car which, assuming we get major battery advances, takes half an hour to sufficiently recharge after you realize it went empty.

If you can't afford being half an hour late for work, then you have to pay $50-100 for a cab to work and back, while also messing up any other plans you may have had. That pays for multiple years of wireless "wastage".

Of course, you ignored this part of his post because you have no response.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Motoman on 7/12/2012 4:11:15 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't respond to that post because it's so moronic in the first place...because the same exact corollary obviously exists with ICE cars.

...which is to say, you absent-mindedly drive home from work one day without noticing that you needed to get gas, and then the next morning you run out of gas before getting either to a gas station, or to work.

Either way a forgetful moron can hose himself trying to get to work.

As always, you've made no point at all. You should have stopped a long time ago...better to remain quiet and cause people to wonder whether or not you're a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

You're a catastrophic fool.

RE: Don't really get it.
By bah12 on 7/11/2012 1:46:05 PM , Rating: 2
How about a contact plate under the car that triangulates an RFID tag and pops up to charge via contact. Point is an automated process can still use a contact design. Induction just doesn't.

According to wiki, the best example they could give was 86%, that is an order of magnitude away from your 2% proposal. Contactless, just doesn't make any sense when you can still get an automated charge if a standard was developed.

RE: Don't really get it.
By Mint on 7/12/2012 1:34:58 PM , Rating: 2
Wiki is not cognizant of the depths of every technology out there. I've researched and built wireless charging systems (for biological implants) and there's no fundamental limit at 86%, especially with the ample room for this application (my work is stuck with inefficient coils and much larger distance-to-radius ratios).

Automated plugin is fine, but it has to be able to withstand being driven over by accident, and engaging/disengaging thousands of times before failure. If such a system costs more than the energy waste through a wireless solution, then it's inferior. Until then, there's no need to rule out wireless charging.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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