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DOE awarding up to $12M to support development of static and possibly quasi-dynamic wireless charging for plug-in vehicles

VTP_wireless charging
Wireless charging elements. Click to enlarge.

The US Department of Energy will award up to $12 million of Federal funding under a new funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0000667) to develop wireless chargers for Grid-connected Electric Drive Vehicles (GCEDVs). The maximum individual award under the FOA is $8 million; the floor is $2 million. DOE anticipates making approximately two to four awards under the announcement. The cost share must be at least 20% of the total allowable costs for R&D projects and 50% of the total allowable costs for demonstration and commercial application projects.

The objective of the FOA is to research and develop a production-feasible wireless charging system; integrate the system into a production-intent vehicle; and to demonstrate the technology’s readiness to deliver the benefits of static (and possibly quasi-dynamic) wireless charging to drivers of light-duty (10,000 lb Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or less) GCEDVs.

While the primary focus of this project is the advancement of static and possibly quasi-dynamic charging, DOE recognizes that the research and demonstration results of this FOA may contribute to the future development of dynamic charging capability. This project is intended to demonstrate wireless charging technology while being cost-competitive and compliant with safety standards.

Wireless charging technology has the potential to significantly increase acceptance and convenience of GCEDVs while possibly enabling smaller battery pack size, reduced vehicle weight, extended electric driving range, and economic benefits. In the near term, static wireless charging technology will provide hands-free automated charging of a parked vehicle. This provides the convenience and freedom of static wireless charging where the driver’s efforts are reduced to parking in a specified location instead of plugging in the vehicle.

In the medium term, quasi-dynamic wireless charging may provide energy to vehicles during a trip when the vehicle is not in motion but still in gear, such as when stopped at a traffic light, to extend the GCEDV’s range. In the long term, dynamic wireless charging could deliver energy to moving vehicles en route to their destinations.

Quasi-dynamic and dynamic charging has the potential to reduce the GCEDV’s total energy storage requirements with cascading benefits of lighter and smaller battery packs, lighter vehicles, more range per unit of energy, and increased electric range for the consumer.

—DE-FOA-0000667

Widespread adoption of current wireless charging technology into US production vehicles faces a number of potential hurdles, according to the DOE:

  • lower efficiency;
  • increased development, vehicle integration, production and installation costs;
  • evolving standards; and
  • a limited track record demonstrating safe and reliable operations when integrated into a vehicle.

DOE intends to select up to four projects. Over the three-year period of this activity, applicants that are selected for participation are each to develop and/or to refine their wireless charging technology; to integrate the technology into a light duty GCEDV; and to test the performance in a demonstration fleet comprised of at least 5 vehicles. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs) used in the demonstrations must incorporate electrical energy storage sufficient to provide at least 10 miles (16 km) of all-electric range, i.e., cumulative vehicle movement with the engine off, on the Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule (UDDS). The EVs must have a minimum electric range of 80 miles (129 km). The vehicles are to meet all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards and emissions requirements.

Each demonstration vehicle needs to have a complete on-board wireless charging system and a wireless charging station for each vehicle during the demonstration phase of this project. Each project will need to perform laboratory and real world testing of the systems and vehicles. During the final year of the program period, the technology will be independently evaluated by DOE National Laboratories.

The wireless charging system developed must meet the following design requirements:

  • power transfer efficiency greater than 85%, based on measured input power at the wall source and measured output power at the GCEDV high voltage direct current (DC) bus;

  • nominal power transfer of at least 3.3 kW (higher is encouraged); and

  • gap spacing and alignment flexibility over a reasonable range, consistent with conditions that would be experienced in real-world conditions.

The projects are to include three phases, with go/no-go decisions at the conclusion of Phase I and Phase II:

  1. Technology Development. In this phase, the project team will develop and test wireless power transfer for static charging (and possibly quasi-dynamic charging). The project is to develop the technology sufficiently for integration into the target demon vehicles. Initial development and stand-alone laboratory testing of the advanced wireless charging technology shall be completed within 12 months of Phase I initiation.

  2. Technology Integration. During phase II, the approved technology is to be integrated into a production or production-intent system and vehicle. Integration of the wireless charging technology into the GCEDV and a commercial viability analysis shall be completed within 12 months of Phase II initiation. In addition to meeting the design requirements, the project team will need to complete a commercial viability analysis, supported by a cost benefits, market penetration, and petroleum reduction analysis to include comparison with a plug-in conductive charging system compliant with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard J1772.

  3. Technology Demonstration. During the Technology Demonstration Phase, the project will demonstrate static (and possibly quasi-dynamic) wireless charging of the integrated system in laboratory and real world vehicle operations of a light duty GCEDV fleet (at least five vehicles and charging stations). Real world on-road demonstration of the charging system technology needs to be initiated within 3 months of successful completion of Phase II, and completed within 12 months of Phase III initiation.

    The project needs to test and validate conformance of the wireless charging system to applicable safety and EMF emissions standards; to test and to validate the vehicle and wireless charging system performance, reliability, interoperability, and flexibility during laboratory and real world on-road tests of static charging (and possibly quasi-dynamic) of the GCEDVs; to collect data from the charging system demonstration during Phase III demonstration; and to provide one vehicle and one wireless charging system to a DOE selected national laboratory for additional independent validation testing within the first three months of Phase III, and demonstrated for the duration of Phase III.

    The project is to support DOE evaluation of the technology through periodic data reporting of laboratory and real-world on-road operational tests. This is to include providing DOE with the data collected during the Phase III demonstration period. The project also needs to inform DOE regarding the applicability of the technology to dynamic charging.

Comments

Davemart

'The EVs must have a minimum electric range of 80 miles (129 km).'

That would appear to rule out the Leaf, EPA 73 miles, and the Focus, EPA 76 miles?

ChrisL

I'm a huge BEV fan, but this is premature and a waste of taxpayer (borrowed) money.

ToppaTom

This is very troubling – It is just DOE seeking headlines at our (taxpayer) expense.

And yes; why do they set a minimum limit vehicle range?
The technology is vehicle independent.

And what's to demonstrate?
This would OBVIOUSLY be attractive to buyers.
If the losses are low enough, the demo will add nothing.
If the losses are too high the demo will add nothing.

It is not a new idea, nor leading edge science.
ChrisL is right.
If it is EFFICIENT enough, private industry will provide it; on time and much faster and much cheaper (Like FREE).

SJC

This is a small amount of money to encourage development. Think how companies get started or those that exist get funding to do development. Some may think that they just get it from the cookie jar and do it in their garage.

This small amount of money will help get those projects going that are sitting on the side lines. I have seen this before with the California Energy Commission, many of their grants went to small companies and colleges that could do it on a low budget and get results.

Herm

its also something that needs to be standardized, not really suitable for commercial development without lots of royalties.. they should have started this a couple of years ago.

Davemart

'they should have started this a couple of years ago.'

They did. This is just ongoing funding for university groups etc.
I love the way liberals or right wingers or whatever they are yearn for some primal state of free market funding innocence.
Business and Government have been inextricably intwined in research and development at least since WW2, or actually for a lot longer.
As a Brit history buff I could point to the development of accurate chronometers, although a Chinese would with disdain point to earthquake alerts and a dozen other Government sponsored advances hundreds of years prior to that.

ToppaTom

Are they going to compete with Toyota ?

"Infiniti unveils production-intent electric LE Concept with wireless charging; production version expected within two years” 5 April 2012 Greencarcongress

$12M is not a small amount of money to me.

It might be small compared to the money given to GM.

Just as with Earmarks, if we do not object to, and even justify the small graft, it will get much larger FAST.

SJC

This money might fund 12 small projects for a year, the Pentagon spends more than this every 10 minutes non stop 24/7.

Davemart

'Are they going to compete with Toyota ?'

That's the idea, to help US car companies and their own investments compete with the Japanese and German car companies and the Government sponsored research projects there.
That is the way modern research works, as a collaborative project with Universities, Government projects and companies all contributing.
If US companies are to have any hope of keeping up to speed they need equivalent levels of support.
Nissan/Renault, BMW and Mercedes are all hard at work on this technology, and you can be utterly confident that German, French and Japanese Government funded research institutions are working closely with them.

ChrisL

I'm all for the government helping U.S. business interests, but for things that are in demand. As for Pentagon spending, start by closing the 300 U.S. military bases in foreign countries, and the many wasteful projects, etc. and use that money for bolstering U.S. businesses, such as subsidizing U.S. manufacturers and installers of PV arrays. Put PV arrays on 50 million U.S. houses; that would do a lot more to encourage BEV uptake then wireless charging, using clean energy (and thereby slashing the flow of U.S. dollars to foreign (oil exporting) countries.

And what's so difficult about plugging a cable in your BEV every night? Are we that lazy?

ToppaTom

Waste and graft in support of one's core ideals is easily justified.

Darius

I do not get any reason of subsidizing PV instalation. It will never be any sence except for company image or marketing. After 40 years of development PV technology reached it's max. and still it is 10 times more expensive than burning fossil fuel and 5 times more expensive than wind power. It it vaste of resources. If you would like to be really green - vote for wind.
In case we wand electrify vehicles wireless charging is top priority. That would make public charging practical. Like conductor conection it needs to be standadised therefore best wireless charging method shall be selected. Therefore governmental participation is self explanatory.

Herm

What I meant to say is that wireless charging and billing needs to be standardized by the Feds, otherwise you will have 20 different methods competing with each other.. not pretty!

ToppaTom


Wireless charging is NOT top priority. It is window dressing.

Hands free ICE fueling is similarly NOT top priority.

Affordable batteries ARE a top priority.

Batteries that can take a substantial charge in 10 minutes IS a top priority (at least for medium trips).

Wireless charging compatibility needs to be ensured, the system does not have to be standardized.


Engineer-Poet

Fully dynamic charging is a substitute for cheap batteries.  It's actually better; unlimited range beats large but finite range.

We may wind up having, and using, both.  The economics may turn out to favor one for some uses and the other for different ones.

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