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Volvo tests wireless EV charging

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Volvo has just recently finished a research project into inductive charging for electric vehicles and their senior executive expressed that the wireless technology has ‘great potential’.

The research project partnered a plethora of companies, obviously Volvo as well as Bombardier Transportation and Van Hool coachbuilder, and it was partly funded by the Flemish Government of Belgium.

The projects used an 89kW/250Nm Volvo C30 Electric as their test vehicle and according to Volvo’s vice president of electric propulsion systems – Lennart Stegland – said that the C30 Electric could be fully charged, without the use of a power cable in about two and a half hours.

This is a significant bettering of the ordinary single-phase 230-volt charging time of eight to ten hours, but the wireless system still falls an hour short of the 90 minutes required by Volvo’s three-phase-fast-charger unit that was revealed in April.

Inductive charging works by using an electromagnetic field instead of a cord in order to transfer energy between two objects. The process employs an induction coil to create an alternating electromagnetic field from a charging base station. A second induction coil is located in the portable device which picks up power from the electromagnetic field and converts it back into electrical energy that in turn charges the battery.

The process is used to charge home appliances such as electric toothbrushes but it hasn’t been commercialized to charge EVs, but Stegland said inductive charging ‘has great potential’ and will still be evaluated for use in its hybrid and electric cars.

The thing is that cordless technology is a comfortable and effective way to conveniently transfer energy and the study indicated that it is safe.

The method implies positioning the car over a charging device and the charging will start automatically and this is thought to increase the customer’s acceptance of electric vehicles.

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