Wireless juice for electric cars charges in
The problem with electric cars is they take hours to charge in one place, right? Well, not if one automotive technology company has anything to do with it.
HaloIPT and Drayson Racing Technologies are working on a way of wirelessly charging electric racing cars as they do battle on track – effectively creating a giant Scalextric track!
Using something called "Inductive Power Transfer", these racing cars will pick up power wirelessly from transmitters buried under the surface of the track. The juice will then be transferred directly to the vehicle's battery, charging it on the move.
Lord Paul Drayson, co-founder of Drayson Racing, said: "Dynamic wireless charging will be a real game-changer, enabling zero emission electric vehicles to race over long periods without the need for heavy batteries.
"Motor racing is the ideal environment to fast-track the development of this promising technology and to prove its effectiveness. This is a milestone innovation that will have a dramatic effect not just on racing but on the mainstream auto industry."
The innovation has been made possible because HaloIPT's equipment can automatically adjust to compensate for different gaps between the transmitter and the receiver – something that's very important with cars.
Tests are currently taking place and if a prototype is proven to be successful, the firms believe it could one day replace the internal combustion engine and fuel pit stops at races.
"This deal demonstrates the appetite for technology that makes driving an electric car more convenient, and this is certainly the case in the motorsport sector – nothing could be more convenient than a race car that re-fuels itself on the track," explained Dr Anthony Thomson, CEO of HaloIPT.
But could this technology ever make it into road cars? Well, it's true many innovations have first appeared in the cutthroat world of motorsport, but this one might be a little way off from being installed on the M25.
The problem lies in the fact that not everyone takes the same route – as they do on a race track – so the costs of an installation would be huge. Where it might work for bus routes – and this has been considered in Germany – it could prove very difficult for road cars.
A spokesman for Nissan, which makes the all-electric Leaf, said: "The technology can be incorporated into electric vehicles such as the Leaf with relative ease, but of course it is reliant on the external infrastructure being in place, which would require a massive investment."
One EV expert we quizzed did think, however, that there was scope for wireless charging to be installed on electric vehicle owner's driveways. They added that this would also be expensive compared to a simple cable – but was still "very exciting".