Why induction charging of electric cars is important

Why induction charging of electric cars is important

There is another revolution coming to the world of four wheels and it is represented by electric cars with wireless charging. It is, in fact, the possible evolutionary step of electric cars that could simplify the battery charging phase, exactly as it happens with smartphones with wireless charging. The wireless charging procedure could represent a central element of the future of mobility, also in consideration of the problems that are occurring (especially in Europe) in the program for the creation of a charging infrastructure capable of supporting the stop of petrol and petrol cars. diesel expected for 2035.

It is fair to ask how wireless car charging works as, in the near future, an increasing number of electric car manufacturers as well as charging service providers (both domestic and public) may begin to support this technology. Currently, the sector is only at the beginning of a development program destined, however, to record a clear acceleration over the next few years. If there are no hitches, then, wireless charging for electric cars could quickly become a widespread standard in Europe and also in Italy.

Let's see, therefore, where we are with wireless charging for electric cars and what could be the fields of application of a technology that is already around us and that could, in the near future, revolutionize the world of mobility again.

What is wireless charging for electric cars

It is natural, therefore, to think of being able to apply wireless charging to the electric car sector, re-proposing on a large scale a mechanism that has found enormous success in the consumer technology industry. The operation of wireless charging for electric cars is simple and follows that already used in other sectors. By exploiting magnetism and installing a suitable receiving coil on the vehicle, it is possible to transmit energy even without a physical connection.

Arena of the future The stations of charging, public or private, which today are equipped with a connector to connect the electric car to the network, could integrate special platforms dedicated to wireless charging. In this case, it would be enough to park the car on one of these platforms to start charging the battery safely and efficiently, exactly as happens when you place a smartphone on the wireless charging base.

Among the possible applications of wireless charging for electric cars, however, there is also the scenario where the streets will become wireless chargers. In essence, the cars could recharge the battery during operation, simply by traveling along specific road sections equipped with the necessary infrastructure to produce a magnetic field and exploit induction charging, thus increasing the effective range of a car.

This solution, decidedly futuristic even if already successfully tested experimentally, involves a series of factors to consider, both in economic terms (due to the huge amount of electricity to be introduced into the streets) and in socio-environmental terms (it is necessary to avoid there is negative interference with people and animals). However, this is a possible field of application of wireless technology that in the future could represent a reality in the mobility sector.

Wireless charging for electric cars is already a reality

Talking about wireless charging for electric cars does not mean talking about the distant future. While the charging infrastructure currently uses essentially plug-in solutions only, plans to introduce wireless charging for large-scale electric cars are different. As has been the case for some time in the zero-emission mobility sector, China is at the forefront of leading the development of this technology and its application in the world of four wheels.

The Chinese company Zhiji Auto, a joint venture between Saic Motor (one of the Big 4 of the Chinese automotive industry and owner of the MG Motor brand also present in Italy) and Chinese tech companies such as Alibaba and Zhangjiang Hi-Tech, has already produced 200 units of an electric sedan with support for wireless charging . Volvo is also testing wireless charging for electric cars with the aim of introducing this technology to production models in the near future.

The tests, in particular, concern the Volvo XC40 Recharge, a symbol of the brand's zero-emission turning point. Recently, wireless charging was introduced on Hyundai Group's Genesis GV60 crossover which will be the focus of a pilot project in South Korea and could arrive on several other models of the company over the next few years with the aim of expanding, the adoption of this technology as much as possible.

Wireless charging could also reach electric cars already on the market, simplifying the adoption of this technology on an international scale. In fact, by resorting to aftermarket solutions, it is possible to introduce support for wireless battery charging also for electric and hybrid cars on the market. Working on the project is the WiTricity company that intends to bring the WiTricity Halo Charging system (to the USA) to introduce 11 kW wireless charging on models already on the market.

A few months ago, the first tests in Italy on a small and selected section of the Brebemi with encouraging results; although still under development, the first tests allowed the charging of an Iveco E-Way bus and a special Fiat 500e suitably modified.

Wireless charging is efficient and fast

Wireless charging for electric cars has all it takes to become a reference in the four-wheeler market. It is not just the convenience factor that plays a decisive role in the success of this technology. The wireless charging procedure, in fact, also takes place with high efficiency. In this regard, Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity, highlighted, during an interview with Arstechnica, that the wireless charging system can record an efficiency of 90-92%.

This is a percentage completely comparable with plug-in refills which, in the best of cases, reach (to date) 94-95%. On the market, Gruzen points out, there are several solutions with efficiencies between 85% and 90%. Consequently, therefore, it is possible to talk about wireless charging for electric cars without having to fear a loss of efficiency of the charging procedure that would make the adoption of this technology on a large scale inconvenient and unsustainable (also from an environmental point of view). >
There is another element to consider: the charging speed. The absence of a cable connection does not mean having to extend the battery charging times. The charging speed of the first wireless solutions for cars is completely comparable to that of plug-in systems. The possible slowdown of the recharging procedure, therefore, does not represent a brake on the adoption of this technology.

Lastly, not to be underestimated, the reduction in the volume and weight of the batteries on board and the increase in life average of the batteries themselves since it would be powered at regular intervals with never exorbitant powers. Furthermore, with a fully operational infrastructure, the user's travel experience could be improved thanks to a reduction in the number of stops.

An international standard is needed

For development on international scale of a wireless charging system for electric cars, it will be necessary to adopt a standard solution shared between the various companies (car manufacturers, charging service providers, companies specialized in the creation of aftermarket products for wireless charging). Leading the development of an international standard is SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). The presence of a shared standard will facilitate the global application of this technology, avoiding the problems associated with proprietary solutions that characterize plug-in recharging.

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