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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.

Source: Phys.org



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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
quote:
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
quote:
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.

quote:
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.


"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke














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