The automotive industry is exploring technological advances to achieve a plug-free electric car, although it is not currently a reality. However, interesting alternatives are being considered to recharge the batteries of these vehicles.
One of the promising options is induction charging, where batteries are recharged by being positioned on special platforms. Although this form of charging would be practical and less cumbersome, it has disadvantages such as a slower reloading speed and a loss of efficiency.
Another option that has been explored is solar energy, which we have discussed in another of our articles. If you want more information about it, you can visit the corresponding article.
An easier alternative would be to replace the car batteries in a similar way to how you change the batteries in a remote control. The Chinese company Nio has taken this approach, offering battery replacement in its vehicles.
Although there are different ways to recharge a vehicle without the need for cables, we believe that induction charging is the most promising despite its current disadvantages.
In March 2022, Volvo began trials in Gothenburg using a taxi network to test wireless charging through these platforms. The Volvo XC40 Recharge model recharges automatically when positioned on a charging platform supplied by the company Momentum Dynamics, a leader in wireless charging systems. These chargers offer a power of more than 40 kW, approaching the 50 kW achieved with direct current charging using cables.
Fiat has also carried out wireless charging tests on a circuit designed at the end of 2021. The circuit has wiring under the asphalt that transfers energy to the vehicles. This innovative technology, called Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer, is developed by the company Stellantis.
The promising results of these tests have led to consideration of the possibility of unlimited autonomy, where vehicles would constantly recharge while in motion, eliminating the need for additional batteries that add weight to the vehicle and are limited by the shortage of lithium.
In addition to the aforementioned advantages, this approach would allow full connectivity with road infrastructure and safer driving through the Internet of Things (IoT).
In the United States, a project developed by the Indiana Department of Transportation, Purdue University and the German startup Magment GMbH seeks to create a magnetizable concrete road with high-frequency electrical induction properties. This concrete, created from cement and recycled ferrite particles, improves energy transfer. Vehicles equipped with receiver coils could charge their batteries when driving on this road.
In Spain, the Malaga group PREMO has presented the WC-RX antennas, which allow contactless charging of electric vehicles. These antennas, with a flexible magnetic core, can reach an output power of between 3 and 11 kW, and work is underway to develop 22 kW chargers. The systems use 90 kHz inductive wireless power transfer, reducing heating and eliminating air gaps. The efficiency of this technology exceeds 95%.
Another innovative system is Volterio, developed by Continental in collaboration with the company of the same name. It consists of an autonomous platform that approaches the vehicle to start the charging process. This solution eliminates the need for human intervention in the recharging process and optimizes energy use through a physical connection between the car and the device.
As these advances are developed and successfully tested, we see a future where charging electric cars is more efficient and convenient. With these innovations, the idea of unlimited range and constant charging removes many of the barriers to mass adoption of electric cars. Furthermore, these solutions could have a positive impact on road connectivity and driving safety.
We will continue to inform you about the latest developments in electric car charging. Stay tuned for our posts to learn more about transportation electrification and the sustainable alternatives that are revolutionizing mobility.
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