When Mercedes introduces its refreshed S 550e plug-in hybrid as a 2018 model, it will feature wireless charging and a larger 13.5 kWh battery. With the bigger battery, electric only range is expected to jump from a paltry 19 miles with the current 8.7 kWh battery to 30 miles or more.
Wireless charging eliminates the need to plug the vehicle in for overnight charging. The system installed on the S 550e is limited to 3.6 kilowatts of power. Nissan is hard at work on wireless charging systems with 7 kilowatts of power. Oak Ridge National Lab is experimenting with systems that have as much as 20 kilowatts of power. Such systems would be capable of recharging an electric car in one sixth the time a 3.6 kilowatt system requires.
Wireless charging has some issues that need to be resolved. First, getting the base plate on the floor of your garage precisely lined up with the receiver built into the underside of your car is critical to getting maximum performance from the system. Even being off by a couple of inches will reduce system efficiency.
The Mercedes S 550e will guide drivers to the correct alignment via an in-car display. In the future, autonomous features like Tesla’s Summon will guide cars into the proper position with millimeter accuracy.
As wireless charging systems become more powerful, safeguards must be built in to prevent injury to small children or pets that might get between the component parts of the system while charging is taking place. Nobody wants to see their prized American Shorthair turned into an Angora.
Mercedes has announced that beginning in calendar year 2018, all of its plug-in hybrid cars will be built with high speed DC charging based on the CCS standard. CCS officials are promising charge rates at up to 150 kilowatts in the very near future. Tesla has quietly joined the CCS partnership, which is supported by all the major European manufacturers and most American companies as well.
High power charging is essential for electric car owners who need to travel long distances and cannot wait hours for their cars to recharge along the way.
Source: Motor Authority Photo credit: Mercedes