RISE ICT stories: Wireless charging of electric vehicles

Wireless charging car with child running by.

Electric vehicles are one way of reducing greenhouse gas and particle emissions compared with cars powered by fossil fuels. However, the charging procedure of electric cars with a heavy and dirty cord may be a potential barrier for users. Another potential barrier is the costly investment of an electric generation and distribution network required if many electric vehicles are charged simultaneously. Wireless, or inductive, charging may help to reduce both these barriers, but an extensive user study has not yet been performed. RISE Viktoria, together with Vattenfall, Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, the cities of Stockholm and Gothenborg and Test Site Sweden at Lindholmen Science Park, has launched Europe’s first user test of wireless charging.

“By simplifying charging of both battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, there is a possibility to get more “electric mileage” instead of using fossil fuels”, says Associate Professor Stefan Pettersson, Electromobility Research Manager at RISE Viktoria. Simpler charging means more frequent connection to the electric grid, which in turn gives less peaks in, and more even power demand from, the grid.

To find out if this is a valid assumption, the project, co-funded by Energimyndigheten, has equipped 20 cars, used for various official uses in the cities of Stockholm and Gothenborg and by a pilot user in Vattenfall, with the currently only system available on the open market, the American Plugless® system from Evatran Group.

To allow the system to be used in Europe, several tests were made by SP in Borås before the Swedish Transport Authority issued a temporary approval. These tests, and tests performed by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, Vattenfall and Test Site Sweden, have given valuable knowledge about the technical issues connected with wireless charging.

The cars are now being used for about 18 months, during which the usage and the perceptions of the users is monitored in a user study, to build knowledge about what is required for ordinary users to adopt the technology.



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