Although the electric vehicle is a solid platform, as a concept at least, currently it’s hindered by a few real world issues. For starters, they have two to three times less range than a comparable internal-combustion engine car. This causes range anxiety and, if you run out of juice, a lot of problems.
Ringing up a friend to bring you fuel with a jerry can is not an option, so you’ll have to tow the car to either your home or the nearest charging station. As you can probably imagine, that’s quite an inconvenience to say the least.
This brings us on to the next issue: recharging time. Fast chargers are noticeably better than the chargers from just several years ago, but they’re still miles off anything comparable with gasoline. Simply put, with an EV you can’t just stop at a petrol station, fill up the tank and get going. You’ll have to wait for the batteries to fill up, and that can take a relatively long time.
In most cases, you don’t have to wait two hours to fill them up completely, as even a half an hour at the station will give you plenty of juice, but that’s still not a solution. At one point people even discussed the possibility of swapping out batteries instead of recharging them, but that’s neither practical nor efficient. What is the alternative then? Well, wireless charging.
As you’re probably aware, wireless charging for phones is already available as standard in a lot of newer cars. If you can charge your phones while using them, why can’t you do the same with a car? Sure, the batteries are a lot bigger and you’ll need to develop a far bigger system operating on a larger scale, but the basics are the same.
Theoretically, if you charge your car on the go, while you’re driving, you’ll never have to stop for “fuel”. That doesn’t just beat the traditional petrol station system, but offers something completely radical and innovative which could change the automotive world forever.
Researchers at Stanford University were able to transmit electric chargers wirelessly to a nearby moving object. They successfully transferred 1 milliwatt of charge this way. Although that’s 10 million times less than what an EV car would require, it’s still a step in the right direction. According to experts, the system won’t have to be stretched a lot because car batteries are advancing as we speak. They’ll be able to store more electricity but use it more effectively, making the life of wireless chargers a lot easier.
The biggest issue, for now at least, is configuring how to send the electric charge to a moving object through an oscillating magnetic field. Fine-tuning the system in real-time is impossible, even for someone well educated on the matter, so Stanford researchers addressed the issue with a commercial voltage amplifier and a feedback resistor.
The “affordable” EVs today, namely the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3, can each cover 380 km and 320 km on a single charge respectively. If wireless charging takes off, soon we might not even care about these numbers at all. You’ll be able to charge your car as you drive, effectively keeping the battery at maximum capacity at all times.