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Wireless charging for electric cars

by Louise Murray 12 Nov 2010
Wireless charging for electric cars

One of the biggest drawbacks for most potential users of electric cars has been the need to recharge the large and heavy battery every night, but a new device launched commercially by HaloIPT, an Arup backed start-up in London earlier this month may change all that. Simply park an IPT (Induction Power Transfer) equipped vehicle over a pad fed by a standard household socket.

The power transmitter pad might be set in your driveway or garage, and power flows into a receiver on the underside of the car and on into the battery. The whole process is controlled by software inside the car.

You don't even have to park that accurately, the power flows across a gap of up to 40 cm. The company demonstrated the technology on a modified Citroen ultra compact, and claimed that a full charge from 20% capacity took only six hours.

CEO of HaloIPT, Anthony Thomson said, 'This technology could break down the hurdles to mass adoption of electric cars transforming the outlook for the electric car.'

IPT technology works in any weather, and can be embedded under tarmac in roads to charge vehicles as they move around, though its estimated that wiring up the UK's roads would cost over ÂŁ50 billion (US$80bn) alone.

IPT technology frees the consumer from the tyranny of the average 100 mile battery radius of today's generation of electric cars that sees likely usage confined to urban areas linked to 'range anxiety' on the part of the consumer.

The ability to wirelessly charge, even on the move, combined with generous government incentives for consumers to buy electric cars in place from China to the UK could be the kick start that boots sales of electric vehicles into the mainstream.

The ultimate measure of success or failure of the new technology will be whether the big car manufacturers will take it up and install in their next generation of electric cars, bringing down the unit price, making wirelessly powered vehicles commonplace on our roads and contributing to a decrease in carbon emissions from vehicles worldwide.

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