Audi’s Urban Concept tandem-2-seater first debuted last summer, amid promises of revolutionizing the “city car” concept and wireless, in-road charging for its on-board electric batteries.
A few days ago, Audi posted a new video to its YouTube channel demonstrating the wireless system’s ability to conduct large amounts of electricity through the air at high speeds. Enough electricity, according to the video, to power some pretty serious-looking floodlights. Towards the end of the video (below), Audi shows an (computer-generated) electric A3 “re-fueling” by parking over one of Audi’s inductive charging pads.
It’s not an exciting video – but the tech looks AMAZING!
It’s worth noting that induction over the air isn’t a perfect system – some electrical energy is “lost” due to the relatively poor conductivity of air (compared to, say, copper). Audi claims their system’s efficiency is better than 90% in the labs, but how that will relate to the real world of dirt, road grime, and salt trucks remains to be seen.
That said, anything that pushes an EV’s range upwards should be warmly welcomed, especially a system like Audi’s which (when embedded in roads, drive-through lanes, etc.) can reduce the length of EV batteries’ charging cycles and improve the batteries’ overall service life while preventing potentially expensive “bricking“. Let’s face it, anyone could forget to plug in their car at night – if your parking space had an inductive charger underneath it, however, that would never be a problem.