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New Method could allow Charging Electric Vehicles while on the Road

One of the key concerns for people who consider buying an electric vehicle – apart from the price tag and design – is range. With charging stations still relatively sparse, getting stuck on the road remains an issue to contend with.

To address it, engineers are currently working on three fronts: making batteries larger, reducing charge time, and increasing the number of charge locations.

Unfortunately, all of these solutions, while useful, come with a number of problems, such as batteries growing larger and more expensive, design lagging due to limitations of current physics and chemistry, and many more.

A potential, if incomplete, solution is figuring out a way to charge a vehicle on the road, without stopping or making any alterations to the battery inside.

Dynamic Electric Vehicle Charging (DEVC) could be employed in autonomous vehicles to keep them on the road, while reducing energy costs at the same time. Image credit: Grendelkhan via Wikimedia.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

One such way that’s been getting increasingly more traction lately is called Dynamic Electric Vehicle Charging (DEVC), which amounts to installing charging pads on the surface of the road, capable of charging your car at up to 20 kilowatts while maintaining high speed.

Engineers are currently at work to achieve 80 percent efficiency for the project from grid to battery, with reports indicating they’re getting close.

With preliminary testing in Europe successful, Qualcomm – the company behind DEVC – will partner up with the state of Colorado, USA to embed a section of a public roadway with the new unassuming tech.

The company has demonstrated simultaneous charging, which allows two vehicles to charge dynamically at the same, regardless of direction – and even while going in reverse, thereby further extending the potential for real-world application.

To bring the new technology to the road, Qualcomm will first have to address quite a few complicated issues, including the impact of weather conditions, compatibility, energy transfer, billing, etc.

If the above can be worked out well enough, electric vehicles could receive a substantial boost. While building the requisite infrastructure is undoubtedly going to cost a large sum of money, a key attraction is autonomous vehicles – if they can be kept on the road at least (semi-) permanently, DEVC could be looking at a bright future indeed.

Sources: cnet.com, qualcomm.com, blog.caranddriver.com.

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