Monday, October 20, 2014


Wireless charging could make the process even easier.Charging an electric car or plug-in hybrid really isn’t all that difficult .

I can’t help but wonder if some drivers are reluctant to jump on the all-electric or plug-in hybrid bandwagon simply because of the extra effort it takes to connect the car to a charging station each evening? I know that seems a little absurd, but I suppose it’s possible. After all, it is an extra step that most people just aren’t accustomed to when they roll into the garage every night.

Oh, and if you failed to realize that you forgot to plug the car in until the next morning — well, that’s the kind of mistake that could ruin your whole day, especially if you had somewhere important to go. This is a positive change. Nothing can be more time consuming than plugging in your car a few times a day. I would hate to have to plug in my other appliances as I use them TV, Coffee maker, Washer, etc. This is a no brainer and Americans like things to be very easy.But there’s talk of a much easier method on the high tech.

We’ve been using wireless chargers (inductive charging) to power up our handheld devices for at least a few years now, so it only makes sense that auto manufacturers would eventually apply that kind of technology — on a larger scale, of course — to charge depleted electric car batteries. And while these wireless charging mats aren’t immediately available, manufacturers do hope to have the systems ready for home and public use within the next few years.

Obviously, there’s a good deal of science happening in there, but here’s a streamlined version of how it works: Electricity is emitted from the transmission unit (an electrically charged mat mounted to the ground) to the vehicle’s receiver unit (mounted underneath the car) through electromagnetic induction (wireless transmission of energy). The receiver unit passes the electric current on to the car’s battery pack until it’s fully charged.

An even simpler version: You drive your electric car (or plug-in hybrid) over the charging mat you installed on your garage floor and the system begins charging the car’s battery pack as soon as the vehicle is parked. That’s it. Simple, right? And there’s no added hassle of having to plug and unplug the car each time you intend to use it. Some of these proposed charging systems will even guide the driver into the correct parking position.

Now, as I mentioned, there aren’t any wireless charging systems currently available from the auto manufacturers — but they are in the works. Nissan has been teasing us with a wireless charging system for its all-electric LEAF for a couple of years now, and as of Dec. 2012, Toyota was working on an angular coil system for wireless power transmission.Toyota Motor Corp is considering employing an angular coil, which is made by winding a copper wire around a quadrangular plate, for its wireless power transmission technology under development.

Toyota prototyped a vehicle equipped with the angular coil and is evaluating its performance. The problem with angular coils is that it is necessary to reduce the leakage of electromagnetic waves to the extent that it meets radio laws. It seems that Toyota is now ready to meet such regulations.

There are two shapes of coils used for wireless transmitting electricity to vehicles: circular and angular shapes. A magnetic path is decided depending on the shape. Therefore, to efficiently pass magnetic fluxes, it is necessary to have the same coil shape on the power transmitting and receiving sides.

The two shapes are not compatible with each other, and they both have advantages and disadvantages. The number of automakers that are choosing a circular coil is almost the same as the number of makers that are choosing an angular coil.

So do you think we’ll see these systems reach production by the end of 2013? Or will it be 2014? Do you think the aftermarket options will be as good as (or maybe better than?) the factory offered wireless charging systems.

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