By Nay Chehab
What if charging your plug-in electric vehicle was as easy as parking it? No need for cords or cards. Just as Wi-Fi has freed consumers of wires when accessing the Internet, wireless charging technology may soon be as widespread, thanks to research supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.
With support from the Vehicle Technologies Office, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Hyundai America Technical Center Inc. have been working since 2012 to demonstrate wireless charging on a variety of vehicles. ORNL is working with a mix of Toyota vehicles, including models of the all-electric RAV 4, plug-in hybrid electric Prius, and all-electric Scion iQ, while Hyundai America Technical Center Inc. is testing its technology on five all-electric Kia Souls.
The technology behind wireless charging creates a connection between a transmitting pad on the ground (such as in a garage) and a receiving pad integrated on the bottom of the vehicle. In the projects ORNL is leading, the transmitting pad is connected to a 240-volt outlet and generates a magnetic field of a certain frequency. When the coil in the receiving pad is tuned to oscillate at the same frequency, the magnetic field will generate a current in the receiving coil, charging the vehicle’s battery. [Read more…]