Can Charging Mats Sever the EV Cord?

Nissan Leaf charging

Remember when you were a kid and all you wanted for your birthday was a remote-controlled car?

When the day finally arrived, your heart raced as you ripped open the wrapping paper and saw the gleaming red car under the clear plastic of the box. You, at long last, were the proud owner of a real remote-controlled car.

After tearing open the packaging and having your dad free the car of its inner restraints, a horrible realization occurred. Your car wasn’t a real remote-controlled car, it was tethered with a wire from the remote to the car. What fun is that?

The disappointment was intense, and you hung your head as you followed the car through the kitchen, maneuvering it around adults’ feet, trying to keep the wire free.

Now you’re all grown up and have finally purchased the electric car you always wanted, only to suffer the familiar disappointment of realizing you can’t go far without attaching a wire.

That’s a problem automakers are trying to deal with as EV sales trickle and current owners struggle with messy, hard-to-handle cords and a limited driving range.

A possible solution: wireless charging mats.

The details are a bit technical for my tastes, but essentially automakers are working on two different kinds of mats that an EV owner can park on to receive a wireless charge rather than plugging the cars in with a cord. While car owners could use the mats at home, it’s also possible that parking garages and lots could integrate the mats, giving EV drivers a quick charge before they head off to their next destination. The city of London is even testing the idea of embedding mats in city streets, which, if there were enough of them, could theoretically provide an unlimited amount of driving range on those city streets.

While I’m not yet convinced that electric vehicles are the alternate fuel source of the future, charging mats could at least give current EV owners a reason to hold their heads high and know the cord has finally been severed.

If electric vehicles could be charged as you drove around town, would you be convinced to buy one?

-tgriffith

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Used Nissan Leaf

2 Comments

  1. Randy I would have to disagree with you this. Products that require electricity evolve every 8 months and with the dependency on oil decreasing this trend is here to stay

  2. Take your cell phone and make it the size of a car, multiplying the battery capacity by many thousands of times to actually provide enough power to move around town, have lights and air conditioning as well as all the functions it currently provides. That gives you an idea of how substantial a charging mat system will need to be. Really, all a charging mat consists of is a transformer split into two disconnected parts, with the power transmission being accomplished with a magnetic field. Given the low efficiency of the type of device, along with the huge air gap of a mat inches to a foot away (below the car) you’re probably talking about a device that will take 6 to 8 WEEKS to fully charge an EV. All to simply avoid getting out of the car and connecting a cord. For the terminally lazy or incompetent, a better solution would be a simple robot to find the port on the car and connect the cord automatically.
    In-road induction charging is also kind of neat but would also be very inefficient in real world installations and cost millions $ to build.

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