One of the biggest challenges with the introduction of electric vehicles is the charge. The first iterations of electric cars had a painfully low range, meaning that they were destined for the scrapheap. People were not going to pay top dollar for a vehicle that they could only use for 20-30, maybe 50 miles before they had to recharge for hours at a time. They certainly weren’t built for long distances.
Over time, the batteries have gotten better and better. This has improved performance as well as range. And people have flocked over to quality electric cars. But there is still the issue of charging the vehicle. Public charging spaces are more prevalent. But charging is still the bugbear for many electric vehicle owners across the world. It just isn’t as convenient as stopping at a filling station for a few minutes and being ready to go. Governments across the world have committed to the elimination of diesel and petrol cars over the next few decades. With this in mind, wireless charging in automobiles should be a goal for businesses across the planet. So, let’s take a look at where we are today – and what the future looks like.
What Is Wireless Charging For Automobiles?
Simply, wireless charging is the transference of power from one point to another without the use of wires. The notion behind this is known as mutual induction. Basically, it’s the same way a transformer works. A coil is kept in an alternating magnetic state. This occurs because an alternating current is supplied to the coil. The size of the coil is determined by the frequency of the alternating current. This is then passed to another coil in the device (or in this case, the automobile).
There is more science behind this, but fundamentally, the space between the coils and the number of turns in the coil affect the magnitude of the electricity generated. Wireless charging for electric vehicles works on this principle.
Are There Other Ways?
Yes. Capacitive wireless charging transfers electrostatic power, rather than the mutual induction described above. In this way, the power is passed through a plate on the road, passing power to receiving plates on the underside if a vehicle. Charging stations positioned on the edge of roads would transfer this high-frequency AC power.
How Does Wireless Charging For Automobiles Work?
Parking the car or other vehicle in a charging slot will start the battery charging. This is far more convenient than finding a traditional charging point and then using the cable to ‘plug the car in.’ It works in very much the same way as the current technology for charging mobile phones remotely. Rather than finding a cable and being tethered to the wall, the phone is simply placed on a mat where the energy transfer happens.
The electric car is installed with coils, where it can receive inductive energy from similar coils placed in the ground. Think Scalextric, but rather than the current being constantly under the car, it is there providing charge all the time it is parked in the designated space. This AC (Alternating Current) energy is converted into DC (Direct Current) using a converter installed in the car and then it is ready to utilize.
This is an efficient way to transfer the energy needed to power an electric vehicle without the inconvenience of cables.
Advantages Of Wireless Charging Vehicles
There are several advantages of wireless charging, and these include –
- No need to transport a bulky charging cable
- Safer due to the lack of a charger
- Zero maintenance of the charger cable
- Reduces the dirt and water intake of the cable system
As you can see, the cable that transfers the power currently in most electric vehicles causes many of the issue with this method of power transference. The socket where the cable is inserted needs maintenance, as electricity can cause injury or even death if it isn’t in perfect condition. Dirt, water and other items can get into this part of a vehicle, in pretty much the same way a mobile phone can be infected with dust or water through the port where it is charged. The charging station in the floor and in the vehicle can be made immune to these issues.
Disadvantages Of Wireless Charging Vehicles
Wireless charging is a great way to charge a car, as we can say above. But there are still some disadvantages to this way of working. These include –
- The system is difficult and costly to install
- The vehicle has to be parked accurately
The ability to park accurately has missed some people. There are websites and social media pages dedicated to the poor parking of others. In this instance, it isn’t only a source of entertainment for others. The accuracy of parking determines the power transfer. Without the car in the right place, the charging just won’t happen.
The cost of installing these charging points in the ground in millions of locations worldwide looks prohibitive from the outset. But investing on our infrastructure is all part and parcel of moving on in the world.