German technology and tyre company, Continental, will unveil a wireless charging system at next month’s Frankfurt motor show that could spell the end of ‘range anxiety’ for owners of electric vehicles.
Continental believes one of the keys to an electric motivation future is in ensuring charging is both easy and readily available.
“At present, there can be any of a number of reasons why EV drivers are reluctant to use every available opportunity to recharge their vehicle,” said Continental’s Thomas Röhrl. “If it’s cold outside, or wet, they may not feel like getting out and grappling with the charging cable.”
Additionally, if a driver intends making only a short stop, then it may be too cumbersome to charge an electric vehicle for such a short period. Röhrl agrees.
“We have to make recharging more practical and user-friendly,” he said. “Inductive charging technology will be a big step towards achieving this.”
Continental’s inductive system transfers power wirelessly from a charging pad on the ground to a receiver pad on the underside of the vehicle. To access the available power, a driver simply has to park his or her vehicle over the pad using the company’s micro-navigation solution, which guides the driver to the correct position via the car’s infotainment screen. Once the car is correctly aligned over the inductive pad, charging begins automatically.
The Continental system recharges at a rate of 11kW, which translates to adding a kilometre of driving range for every minute of charging.
“So in the space of a 20-minute shopping trip, the available driving range can be increased by up to 20 kilometres,” said Röhrl.
“With the inductive charging system, drivers can take advantage of recharging opportunities whenever they arise, with no hassle whatsoever,” Röhrl continued. “And taken together, a large number of short charging sessions provide just as much energy as one long session.”
Continental anticipates the inductive charging pads will be installed in public car parks, shopping centres and the like, making charging for EVs readily and easily accessible.
The system is also safe, emitting no charge unless a vehicle with the corresponding inductive pad is correctly positioned above the charging station. It will also switch off if it detects the intrusion of a foreign object, such as a pet cat.