Wireless Charging Highway: Charge your Car as you Drive

electric car

If you drive an electric car, Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research has good news for you: That long road trip you’ve been wanting to take may become a reality with wireless charging highways!


About Wireless Vehicle Charging

Clemson University is now preparing to test mobile wireless recharging for vehicles with their multimillion-dollar R&D project backed by the U.S. Department of Energy in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Toyota, Cisco, and more companies. Stationary wireless vehicle charging is an emerging technology commercialized by Evatran and Bosch through their PLUGLESS vehicle charging system. The companies unveiled their product at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and it is now available to purchase for the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF.


How is it Different?

Although similar to the wireless charging system developed by Evatran and Bosch, Clemson professor of electrical and computer engineering Joachim Taiber claims that there is a big difference. Taibor states the main differences between commercial wireless vehicle chargers and the one his team is working on at Clemson are between the transmission communications systems and the amount of power that can be transferred: Clemson ICAR is able to transfer up to 250 kilowatts. 250 may not seem like a big number, but to put that into perspective, 1 kilowatt is equivalent to 1,000 watts.


ICAR has also developed a Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) technology that supports both stationary and in-motion wireless charging with the same system architecture. DSRC creates a vastly faster communication link between vehicles or roadway technology than wifi- so communications can be established even as a vehicle passes a wireless charger at high speeds.


How does it Work?

The university’s technology uses magnetic resonance to create a field between a ground charging coil and a copper coil embedded in a vehicle through which electricity can pass.

The key to the whole wireless charging technology is the Wi-Fi communications system that allows the ground and vehicle charging systems to talk to one another. This is useful not only for wireless charging, but also for crash-avoidance. In essence, the cars will detect other cars or infrastructure using DSRC modules and automatically avoid collisions.


What does this Mean?

The idea behind wireless charging is to create a series of embedded highway stations that can incrementally recharge electric cars carrying mobile receivers as they drive by. Information acquired from researchers at North Carolina State University suggests that vehicles driving on roadways with dynamic wireless charging stations could increase their driving range anywhere from 62 miles to about 310 miles. The UK government is expected to perform off-road trials of dynamic wireless charging this year.