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Wireless Charging - The Future of Electric Vehicle

Wirelesses charging of electric vehicles continue to be one of the most researched areas of wireless power transfer.  By reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, electric vehicles provide a sustainable and environmentally safe means for fuelling our vehicles well into the future.

What is Wireless EV Charging?

The growing EV market stimulates the demand for more convenient and reliable means to recharge the battery. WPT (Wireless Power Transfer) technique requires no physical contact between vehicle and charging device, therefore overcomes the inconvenience and hazards caused by traditional conductive method.

The initial objective is replacing conductive charging method by the novel WPT technology, while maintaining a comparable power level and efficiency. The long-term goal is to dynamically power the moving vehicles on road. This will lead to a much reduced battery pack but extended driving range. Then, the main concerns of EV, namely the high battery price and the range anxiety, will be addressed.

 Why wireless charging?

·                Wireless charging allows self-driving EVs to recharge autonomously.
·                Wireless charging simplifies the use of electric vehicles.
·                Reduces range anxiety, promoting EV adoption.
·                Unique selling point of EVs: no more refueling.
·                Wireless charging is essential for future automotive industry.

Types of EV Charging Methods –

Conductive Charging (Regular) -  Its just plug the electric vehicle into a 13A Standard socket with dedicated circuit and independent protective device. It is easy and convenient, but takes a longer charging time AC charging using level 1 or level 2, voltage at 110V, 220V 4-10 hours per charge. Charge at home or public space, need large installation of charge stations.

Conductive Charging (Fast Charging) - Charging in 15 to 30 minutes. For an EV with a 24kWh battery pack, charging in 15 minutes means 96kW. This is way over the power available in private homes. Fast charging can degrade battery lifetime.

Battery Swapping – This method does not charge the electric vehicles directly but replace the depleted battery with a fully charged one. The batteries are not owned by the users but are rented ata cost to users. Users go to charging station to swap the batteries to full charged one. The time required is short but the vehicle use must be designed for such purpose. Investment of battery packs, standardization is difficult, swapping stations need a lot investment, space and manpower; safety and reliability is of concern.

Inductive Charging or Wireless Charging – No cable connection is required, instead the energy is transferred between the charger and the Paddle inside the vehicles inlet via a magnetic field generated by a high AC current.
History of Wireless Power Transfer 

1830’s: Faraday's law of induction
1890’s: Tesla had a dream to send energy wirelessly
1990’s: GM EV1 used an Inductive charger in the 1990’s
2007: MIT demonstrated a system that can transfer 60W of power over 2 m distance at very low efficiency
2010: Wireless/inductive chargers are available: electronics, factories, medical
2012: Qualcomm, Delphi (Witricity), Plugless Power, KAIST, etc. have developed EV wireless charger prototypes
2014 : in-motion charging demonstration

Inductive charging (also known as wireless charging) uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two objects through electromagnetic induction. This is usually done with a charging station. Energy is sent through an inductive coupling to an electrical device, which can then use that energy to charge batteries or run the device.

An inverter converts the DC power into high frequency AC current or voltage. The operating frequency varies from tens of kilohertz to several megahertz. The key element is a pair of magnetically coupled coils. In order to enhance the mutual induct­ance, ferrite cores are used in one or both sides of the coils. Litz wires are frequently used to lower the parasitic resistance and therefore high Q-factor. The litz coil consists of many individually insulated thin conductor stands wounded in a particular patterns to reduce both the skin and proximity effects. However, for frequency higher than 1 MHz, (e.g. 13.56 MHz) litz wires are less effective and rarely used. Copper conductor or hollow copper tube could be alternative solutions.
Dynamic wireless charging – Charging an electric vehicle while driving is the ultimate deployment of WEVC technology. Dynamic Charging removes the need for constant charging stops, when travelling long distances: in fact, journeys of hundreds of miles/kilometers would be possible with Dynamic Charging.

Dynamic wireless charging is gaining more ground, since it enables power exchange between the vehicle and the grid while the vehicle is moving.
Wireless EVC Standards

In May, 2016, the society of automotive engineers approved the J2954 standard for wireless charging of electric vehicles. They claimed that this standard truly is a game changer, that allows people to simply park your car and walk away, and your car will start charging automatically.

 Qi (pronounced CHEE, from the Chinese word "natural energy"), is an open interface standard developed by the Wireless Power Consortium for inductive charging over distances of up to 4 cm (1.6 inches). The system uses a charging pad and a compatible device, which is placed on top of the pad, charging via resonant inductive coupling.

 Leading Wireless EVC Manufacture Company –

·        Delta Electronics Ltd.
·        Qualcomm Halo
·        ABB Ltd.
·        And many more …

 Wireless EVC Advantages 

Protected connections – No corrosion when the electronics are all enclosed, away from water or oxygen in the atmosphere. Less risk of electrical faults such as short circuit due to insulation failure, especially where connections are made or broken frequently.

Low infection risk – For embedded medical devices, transmission of power via a magnetic field passing through the skin avoids the infection risks associated with wires penetrating the skin.

Durability – Without the need to constantly plug and unplug the device, there is significantly less wear and tear on the socket of the device and the attaching cable. Increased convenience and aesthetic quality – No need for cables.

Wireless EVC Disadvantages 

Slower charging – Due to the lower efficiency, devices take longer to charge when supplied power is the same amount. 

More expensive – Inductive charging also requires drive electronics and coils in both device and charger, increasing the complexity and cost of manufacturing.

Inconvenience - When a mobile device is connected to a cable, it can be moved around (albeit in a limited range) and operated while charging. In most implementations of inductive charging, the mobile device must be left on a pad to charge, and thus can't be moved around or easily operated while charging. 

Conclusion

From luxury electric sedans to everyday commuter cars, the discussion about wireless charging is popping up everywhere. Industry and customers agree that the hassle of cords is one of the barriers slowing EV adoption. Wireless charging helps electric vehicles surpass the convenience of gas cars. Even the most far-out ideas around wireless charging may become reality sooner than most expect.

*** All data are gathered form trusted source/websites.

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