One of the major limiting factors surrounding the emergence of electric vehicles (EVs) is the availability of charging infrastructure. Will there be enough charging stations to power my vehicle? Will I be able to find a charging station? How long will it take to charge my vehicle? Now, a company is testing technology that may confront a large portion of the EV infrastructure conundrum and sever the connection between the EV and the charging cable.
Qualcomm recently announced the Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging trial for London, calling it a U.K. and industry-leading initiative. The trial is expected to start in early 2012 and will involve as many as 50 EVs. In the past year, both GM and Volvo have announced plans to try to develop wireless charging systems.
The trial will use Qualcomm wireless inductive power transfer technology that enables high-efficiency power transfer across a large air gap. According to the company, the technology is very easy to use: the driver simply parks the vehicle in the usual way and the system automatically aligns for power transfer, making parking easier and charging hassle free. Now, instead of individual charging stations, it may be possible to have entire parking lots be de facto charging stations.
According to Qualcomm, the base charging unit can be surface-mounted or buried below ground without any impact on charging. The charging system is also highly tolerant to misalignment so drivers do not have to change the way they park.
Qualcomm is collaborating with the U.K. government, as well as the mayor of London’s office and Transport for London to deliver the trial. Addison Lee, the U.K.’s largest minicab company, and Chargemaster, the leading European operator of advanced EV charging infrastructure, have also agreed to participate in the London trial.