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Volvo ready for wireless EV charging

Wireless future: Volvo has completed a successful study into wireless EV charging in Belgium.

Wireless EV charging closer than ever following Volvo’s successful research study

Volvo logo28 Oct 2013

WIRELESS electric vehicle charging appears to be another step closer, with the Volvo Car Group confirming the successful completion of a research project into the technology.

Rather than a traditional cord or wire, inductive charging uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between objects, with an induction coil creating an alternating field from a charging base station.

Another coil in the portable device captures the power from the electromagnetic field, converting it into electrical energy that then charges the vehicle’s battery.

Volvo points out in its statement that while this technology is common in household products such as electric toothbrushes, it has not yet been made available for EV charging.

Volvo Car Group vice president of electric propulsion systems Lennart Stegland said the technology’s ease of use and relative safety should ensure it appeals to potential EV customers.

“Inductive charging has great potential,” he said. “Cordless technology is a comfortable and effective way to conveniently transfer energy. The study also indicates that it is safe.”  While Volvo is yet to confirm the introduction of the technology to its current plug-in hybrid range, it has said it will pursue its research further to determine its long-term viability.

“There is not yet any common standard for inductive charging. We will continue our research and evaluate the feasibility of the technology in our hybrid and electric car projects.” “With inductive charging, you simply position the car over a charging device and charging starts automatically. We believe that this is one of the factors that can increase the customer’s acceptance of electrified vehicles,” he said.

Volvo provided a C30 Electric for the purpose of the research project and Mr Stegland confirmed the hatch can be fully charged through inductive charging in around two and a half hours.

The project looked at inductive charging for both cars and buses and was instigated by Flanders’ Drive, a Belgian automotive research centre. As well as Volvo Car Group, other companies Bombardier Transportation and coach-builder Van Hool were involved in the project that was partly funded by the Flemish government.

Volvo also works with Siemens to develop electrical drive technology, electronics and charging technology for integration into electric vehicles.

The Chinese-owned Swedish car-maker released its first mass-produced hybrid vehicle in Europe last year, the diesel-electric V60 plug-in hybrid wagon.

The 11.2kWh 400-volt lithium-ion battery powers the V60 for 50km on electric power, driving through the rear wheels, before the five-cylinder diesel engine kicks in, driving the front wheels.

Official fuel economy for the V60 PHEV is 1.9 litres per 100 kilometres on the European cycle, but it can still dash from zero to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds, matching the fastest non-hybrid Volvo V60, the turbocharged T6.

Volvo is not alone in developing wireless charging technology, with fellow automotive giants such as Nissan, Renault, Toyota and BMW all having produced prototypes in the recent past.

Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti unveiled its all-electric LE mid-size concept at the New York motor show in 2012, and revealed inductive charging technology that would ensure the vehicle parked itself accurately over the charging point in the garage using GPS-guided electric steering and Nissan’s Intelligent Park Assist.

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