A consortium led by German car maket Volkswagen will develop and implement a project called eCharge that would see electric cars charge as they drive via the road.
The consortium, which has won €1.9 million ($A3 million) in funding from the German government, also includes Israeli wireless road charging company Electreon, along with transport infrastructure company Eurovia and other subsidiaries of the global Vinci construction group.
Charging without plugging in is already commonplace for smartphones, but it is still something of a holy grail for electric vehicle makers.
While wireless charging an electric vehicle while parked is similar to today’s smartphone set up, the idea of charging while driving is more challenging.
Electreon in January announced it had successfully completed a transfer rate of 70kW over a 1.6km stretch of road in Sweden, where it had trialled its dynamic wireless charging system, and it also has plans to test another pilot project in Italy between Brescia and Milan.
The new eCharge project will see Electreon integrate its wireless charging receiver into a Volkswagen electric car to further test the technology and develop an “economical and functional” solution for wireless road charging.
Enak Ferlemann, state secretary for the German federal ministry of transport and digital infrastructure, said in a statement that the project aims to ascertain how German road infrastructure could be designed to allow charging to be integrated into the asphalt surface.
Wireless charging would, he said, “extend the range for all vehicles immensely – from cars to heavy trucks, but also will save the trip to the charging station.”
Dr. Nikolai Ardey, head of Volkswagen Group Innovation said inductive charging could be used in all vehicle segments from cars to trucks. “With this project, we want to understand the technology better and examine its possibilities in comparison to the alternatives. ”
Amongst the issues to be tested under the project are road integrity, and connecting the wireless road charging system to a renewable energy resource.
Another issue to be analysed under the program is how to integrate the vehicle with the charging system – and bill the driver for the energy used.
The German eCharge project will be conducted at German national road test facility DuraBASt, located near Cologne, Germany. To implement the program, German subsidiary of the consortium will be formed in light of the support from the German government,
Oren Ezer, co-founder and CEO of Electreon said wireless dynamic charging “is the most holistic and cost-effective solution for charging electric vehicles and can accelerate the transition to clean mobility globally.”
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.