Digital is good, but wireless is better. Advancements over the past few decades have made it possible to use our electronic devices without navigating a tangle of wires. Since greater mobility is what we seem to crave, this development makes sense, but surely it has its limits, right?
Maybe not. Wireless charging technology aims to make it possible to charge our devices by laying them on a table top or tossing them in a high tech purse. There are even wireless car chargers that guarantee you’ll never forget to plug in your EV again. But what’s the impact of all these powerful electromagnetic waves flying around our homes and garages? If you’re worried that wireless car chargers might be pumping out potentially hazardous high frequency fields, new research out of British Columbia holds promise for a safer solution.
University of British Columbia researchers have invented a safe, efficient technology to wirelessly charge electric vehicles without potentially dangerous radio waves. The design instead employs “remote magnetic gears” to rotate a base magnet driven by electricity from the grid, and a second located within the car. The base gear remotely spins the in-car gear, which in turns generates power to charge the battery. Researchers say this charging method operates at a frequency 100 times lower than traditional wireless EV chargers and with negligible exposed electric fields.
Four wireless charging stations have been installed at UBC’s Building Operations parking lot and service vehicles retrofitted with the new technology. Tests show the system is more than 90 percent efficient compared to a cable charge. A full charge takes four hours and enables the vehicle to run throughout an eight-hour shift.
“One of the major challenges of electric vehicles is the need to connect cords and sockets in often cramped conditions and in bad weather,” says David Woodson, Managing Director of UBC Building Operations. “Since we began testing the system, the feedback from drivers has been overwhelmingly positive – all they have to do is park the car and the charging begins automatically.”