Wireless charging roads: the concept and evolutions
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Wireless charging roads: the concept and evolutions

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The concept of a wireless charging roads involves the use of inductive charging technology to transfer energy to electric vehicles while they are in motion or stationary. 

This technology leverages magnetic resonance induction, where copper coils embedded under the roadway transfer energy to a receiver installed on the electric vehicle. 

The system is designed to reduce the volume of the vehicle’s battery and charge the vehicle while driving, potentially decreasing the dependency on heavy-sized batteries for electric vehicle applications. 

The wireless charging road is seen as a potential solution to address range anxiety and improve the adoption of electric vehicles by enabling them to charge while in motion. The technology is being tested in various locations i.e. Detroit, and ongoing advancements aim to make it more efficient and cost-effective.

Limitations of wireless charging roads for electric vehicles

Wireless charging roads

Wireless charging roads for electric vehicles offer several advantages, but they also have some limitations. Here are some of the key limitations:

1. Higher upfront costs: The installation of wireless charging coils beneath the road and the development of vehicles equipped with receivers can be expensive.

2. Slower charging speeds: Wireless charging may be slower than other charging methods, such as DC fast-charging stations.

3. Compatibility issues: Vehicles need to be equipped with a special receiver to use wireless charging, which may limit the technology’s adoption in the short term.

4. Lower efficiency: Wireless charging may be less efficient than traditional charging methods, as energy is lost during the conversion process.

5. Standardization challenges: The lack of standardization in wireless charging technology can make it difficult for different manufacturers to develop compatible systems.

Despite these limitations, wireless charging roads have the potential to revolutionize the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. As technology advances, these limitations may be addressed, making wireless charging more efficient, accessible, and widespread.

Advantages of wireless charging roads

Wireless charging roads

Wireless charging roads for electric vehicles offer several safety advantages compared to traditional charging methods. Some of the key safety benefits of wireless charging roads include:

1. Reduced risk of electric shock: With wireless charging, there is no risk of electric shock, as there are no exposed cables or connectors that drivers need to handle, reducing the potential for accidents caused by tripping over cables.

2. Enhanced safety measures: Wireless charging technology can incorporate features such as temperature monitoring and automatic shut-off in case of abnormalities, enhancing safety measures.

3. Infrastructure integration: Wireless charging technology can be embedded into existing road infrastructure, such as parking spaces, making it easier to integrate into urban environments, which can contribute to overall road safety.

4. Durability: Wireless charging systems can be designed to be more durable and weather-resistant, reducing the risk of damage caused by water or dust compared to traditional charging methods.

While wireless charging roads offer these safety advantages, it’s important to note that ongoing advancements in the field are expected to further improve safety and address any remaining concerns.

Disadvantages of the Wireless charging roads

The safety concerns associated with wireless charging roads for electric vehicles include the following:

1. Overtemperature issues: Wireless charging systems can experience overtemperature issues due to overheating, which may pose safety risks.

2. Electrical shock: While wireless charging eliminates the risk of electrical shock from exposed cables or connectors, there are still safety considerations related to the technology’s electrical components.

3. Standardization and certification: The lack of standardization in wireless charging technology can impact safety, and efforts are underway to develop standards that address the unique safety concerns of wireless charging.

4. Efficiency and reliability: Safety considerations also extend to the efficiency and reliability of wireless charging systems, including features such as temperature monitoring and automatic shut-off in case of abnormalities.

Despite these concerns, wireless charging for electric vehicles is generally considered to be a safe and promising technology. It offers advantages such as convenience, reduced wear and tear, and enhanced safety measures.

How the wireless charging road in Detroit works

Wireless charging roads

The wireless charging road in Detroit works through a series of specialized coils laid beneath the asphalt. Here’s how the technology works:

1. Inductive charging coils: Copper inductive charging coils are installed beneath the street, with each coil connecting to a series of power-managing hubs along the side of the road.

2. Vehicle receiver: Electric vehicles equipped with a special receiver can charge their batteries as they drive, idle, or park above the coils. The receiver absorbs power from the primary coil beneath the ground and transfers it to the vehicle’s battery.

3. Charging segments: Charging can occur when a vehicle with a receiver passes over the coils, and the coils only activate when a vehicle with a receiver is present. This ensures that the charging segments remain safe for pedestrians, motorists, and animals.

4. Real-time monitoring: The Michigan Department of Transportation and its partner Electreon use cloud-based software to monitor and gather real-time insights on the charging system.

The wireless charging road in Detroit is part of a public-private partnership aimed at testing and perfecting this technology in a real-world environment before making it available to the public within a few years. The project is hosted by Michigan Central, a mobility innovation hub in Detroit.

The significance of the Wireless charging road in Detroit 

The wireless charging road in Detroit is a new technology that allows electric vehicles to charge their batteries while driving, idling, or parking above the coils. 

The primary goal of this technology is to keep batteries in EVs smaller while still extending their range, and it is seen as a significant step towards addressing some of the biggest challenges to EV adoption, such as limited range, grid limitations, and battery size and costs. 

While the technology is still in its early stages, it has the potential to become a go-to solution in the battle against range anxiety, which is one of EVs’ biggest adoption challenges.

Cost of building the wireless charging road in Detroit

The installation cost of the wireless charging road technology in Detroit has been disclosed to be $1.9 million. The tech is under a portion of 14th Street between Marantette and Dalzelle Streets near Michigan Central. 

The cost of building out electrified roads would compound as Michigan boasts over 122,000 miles of public roadway that would cost roughly $231 billion to electrify, assuming a cost of $1.9 million per mile.

Currently there are no information’s on the cost of using the wireless charging road in Detroit.

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