Range anxiety is really a problem only for drivers of EVs. Thankfully top minds are getting to work on solutions. Public charging stations could solve the problem, but there are other ideas out there as well.
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), in Daejeon, have developed what is being called the on-line electric vehicle (OLEV) system. The idea is to implant transmitting coils in roadway. EVs would then have a receiving coil as part of the design. This would allow the EV to charge as they travel on the road. A cool idea. So cool in fact that California tried to apply his concept of wireless power transmission to automobiles in 1994.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, established the Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways project in 1994 and were successful in capturing 65% of the injected power. The California project embedded transmitting coils in the road and placed receiving coils on the underside of a test vehicle. The gap between the receiving coil and the transmitting coil in the road was about 7.5 centimeters. Basically the same idea as OLEV system.
So why do we not have this wireless charging style of system in place now? A system that we made in 1994. Well, it seems that capturing 65% of the injected power was not enough to bring the system to market and there were problems with hanging receiving coils.
For what it is worth the California project got the ball moving on wireless charging. In addition to the OLEV system MIT professors and graduates have set up a Massachusetts start-up, WiTricity Corp., that is working with several car companies on wireless charging stations for households. Quebec’s Bombardier is developing what it calls the Primove system in Europe with the goal to transmit power to public buses wirelessly. A similar system already exists at a zoo in South Korea. The South Korean system that does a 2.2-km loop on a roadway with embedded coils and travels around the zoo. That particular system cost $550,000.
Obviously there are cost and infrastructure issues associated with setting up a wireless charging system for our nation’s EVs. However, in a time were American jobs, job training, and skill building is needed such an ambitious project could amount to a modern day CCC – which is just what our nation needs to get moving again.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison