Toyota Working On EV Cableless Charging

Nissan and Qualcomm are way ahead of you guys. Guest writer, MAC, shows his true credentials as a Luddite as he takes a sideswipe...

Nissan and Qualcomm are way ahead of you guys.

Guest writer, MAC, shows his true credentials as a Luddite as he takes a sideswipe at some new technology news. 

Toyota has announced that they are joining the gang in their attempt to dumb down the recharging of electric cars. It would seem that both Nissan and Toyota agree with those smart folks over at Qualcomm that attaching a plug to a vehicle is just too technically troubling for the hemp trouser brigade. They suggest a simpler system whereby the car will automatically recharge when you position and park the vehicle over a charging coil rather than having to attend a training course in plugging in plugs.

Qualcomm is developing its system along with the good folks at Renault, and stated that the new Resonance System will do away with the need to invest in plug installation. You will still need an electrical source, aka a plug, but of course you won’t have any of those pesky wires to trip over nor will you have to remember to actually plug your vehicle in, thus eliminating those days when you just feel run down, or is it your car that feels that way? So, all good news for the memory-challenged eco-warrior then.

Wireless recharging, although seemingly impossible, is actually quite straightforward and the technology has actually been around for a while. It is commonly referred to as magnetic resonance or inductive charging, and is defined as using a magnetic field to transfer the energy. The technology typically uses an induction coil to create an alternating electromagnetic field in a base station; there is a second coil in the portable device that takes power from the electromagnetic field and converts it back to electrical current.
Qualcomm has been testing some 50 cars in London with this technology for over a year in an attempt to overcome the inconvenience of not being able to find a plug when you run out of juice in your electric-powered vehicle. Of course before you install one of the new resonance stations, you will need to locate a plug, as I have said. Oh, and dig up a bit of your driveway or car park. So it would seem that, in the words of Steve Jobs, this new gadget could be “stillborn”.

However, replacing the lowly plug is probably not the ultimate aim of this new technology. In fact, you can pretty much bet that dynamic wireless charging is really the goal; with the resonance loop in the road, the vehicle can charge as it is going along, hence getting over the range anxiety that currently haunts the owners of EVs. The main advantage of this is that the internal combustion engine, ‘range extender’ and even heavy battery packs could be done away with, making the vehicle much lighter and therefore economic to build, buy and run.

Of course there is a massive infrastructure cost to this, with estimates from a few hundred thousand Euros per kilometre to a few million. So, who would have thought of an electric-powered vehicle that can get its power from the road or track it is traveling on. I am starting to think that someone should tell the good folks at Qualcomm and Toyota that someone has already invented this technology and they called it a TRAIN.

Or am I being a Luddite?



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