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Consortium including Volvo Car Group completes successful study of EV wireless charging
24 October 2013
|Inductive battery charging components. Click to enlarge.|
A consortium of companies, including Volvo Car Group, Bombardier Transportation and the coachbuilder Van Hool, has successfully completed a 3-year research project studying the possibilities of inductive charging for electric vehicles. (Earlier post.) The results show that this technology for transferring energy via an electromagnetic field has “great potential,” according to Volvo.
The inductive charging project was initiated by Flanders’ Drive, a research and test center for the automotive industry in the Flanders region in Belgium and was partly funded by the Flemish government. Volvo Cars supplied the car for the inductive charging project: a Volvo C30 Electric with a power output of 89 kW (120 hp) and a 24 kWh battery pack.
Inductive charging uses an electromagnetic field instead of a cord to transfer energy between two objects. An induction coil creates an alternating electromagnetic field from a charging base station. A second induction coil in the portable device picks up power from the electromagnetic field and converts it back into an electrical energy that charges the battery.
The Flanders Drive project explored inductive charging in both a passenger car as well as a transit bus. For the passenger car aspect, the consortium used two different inductive charging systems: a faster charging 20 kW, 380 Vac 3-phase system from Bombardier (which also supplied a higher powered unit for the bus); and a slower charging 3.8 kW 240 Vac single-phase unit from Inverto.
The tests demonstrated that our Volvo C30 Electric can be fully charged without a power cable in approximately 2.5 hours [at 20 kW]. In parallel with this, we have also conducted research into slow and regular charging together with Inverto, which was also a partner in the project.
With inductive charging, you simply position the car over a charging device and charging starts automatically. We believe that this is one of the factors that can increase the customer’s acceptance of electrified vehicles. Inductive charging has great potential. Cordless technology is a comfortable and effective way to conveniently transfer energy. The study also indicates that it is safe. There is not yet any common standard for inductive charging. We will continue our research and evaluate the feasibility of the technology in our hybrid and electric car projects.—Lennart Stegland, Vice President, Electric Propulsion System at Volvo Car Group
￼Feasibility research of wireless power transfer for electric vehicles (Flanders Drive)
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