Navigation path

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece


   Energy

Published: 20 April 2015  
Related category(ies):
Energy  |  Transport  |  Information society  |  Nanotechnology  |  Environment

 

Countries involved in the project described in the article:
Belgium  |  France  |  Germany  |  Italy  |  Spain  |  Sweden  |  United Kingdom
Add to PDF "basket"

Wireless charging to boost take-up of electric cars?

Electric vehicles have long been heralded as the future of transportation. They are relatively cheap to run, don't depend on declining oil stocks and don't release nasty emissions into the environment. But their initial cost, together with the inconvenience of finding charging points, is keeping electric vehicles in the showroom. EU-funded researchers are finding answers to these challenges with studies into the feasibility of wireless charging in public spaces.

electric car during charging

© A_Bruno - Fotolia

Electric vehicle batteries need to be recharged roughly every 160 km, meaning that drivers need to plan their route around charging stations. The availability of stations varies widely in Europe, from nearly 2 000 in France to around 60 in Poland.

The team behind the EU-funded UNPLUGGED project is investigating how to complement traditional charging stations with wireless charging points in public spaces. Two scenarios are under consideration – locations where cars will be stationary for some time, such as supermarket car parks, and those where vehicles will be immobile for a few minutes, such as taxi ranks, bus stops and even traffic lights. Theoretical studies also looked into the feasibility of charging while driving.

“Wireless charging would be very convenient for the driver, and would make it possible to increase the number of charging events per journey,” explains project coordinator Axel Barkow of the Forschungsgesellschaft für Kraftfahrwesen Aachen (fka) in Germany.

Greater range for longer journeys

The concept of wireless charging at home has already reached industry. “Everybody is working on it,” says Barkow. But these endeavours are still focused on private charging points at home. The UNPLUGGED concept of on-the-go charging would extend electric vehicles’ range, meaning they can stay on the road for longer, thus addressing one of drivers’ key concerns.

If a battery can be charged more frequently, it doesn’t need to be large – at the moment, the larger the battery, the greater the distance it will power a vehicle. While the cost of an electric vehicle battery is dropping rapidly, it is still the biggest expense for electric vehicle owners – and the bigger the battery, the higher the cost.

Charging the vehicle would almost be like charging an electric toothbrush, explains Barkow. The vehicle would contain a coil, which would need to be aligned with another coil on the road. This external coil would have a current running through it, generating a magnetic field. This would be captured by the vehicles’ coil, which would transform it into current and then charge the battery.

But unlike a toothbrush, which is placed almost on top of the primary coil, the distance between the two coils is likely to be 10 cm or more. This is one of the UNPLUGGED team’s major technological challenges, along with the fact that the driver must position the car in a very precise position – not so complicated in a car park, but more problematic at traffic lights.

Watch this parking space

Interoperability is another technical challenge. “If you want to charge your private car at the supermarket, you don’t want to have to look for the right model for your car,” says Barkow. UNPLUGGED has already made good progress here, and is confident that it will at least be possible to charge low-power vehicles at high-power charging points.

Interoperability would make it less costly for local authorities to invest in charging points. “At the moment we have a bit of a chicken and egg situation,” says Barkow. Charging points are few and far between because there are very few electric vehicles on the road, but drivers are put off buying such a vehicle by the lack of charging facilities. “Interoperability should encourage investment,” he says.

Local authorities are already expressing an interest in the UNPLUGGED concept, and in particular in how they need to plan for electric vehicles when developing their city’s infrastructure. Several are part of the project’s advisory board, together with car manufacturers.

By the time the project finishes in March 2015, the UNPLUGGED team plans to have answers to interoperability questions, as well as two electric vehicle prototypes able to charge wirelessly – a Fiat 500 and a larger light-duty vehicle manufactured by IVECO. The results will be available to everyone, including car manufacturers and local authorities

.

Project details

  • Project acronym: UNPLUGGED
  • Participants: Germany (Coordinator) Spain, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, UK, France
  • Project reference 314126
  • Total cost: € 3 576 692,25
  • EU contribution: € 2 254 850,51
  • Duration: October 2012 - March 2015

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also
Project website
Project information on CORDIS






  Top   Research Information Center
 
Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece