Oak Ridge Inches Closer to 15-⁠Minute Wireless EV Charging

  • October 31, 2018
    ORNL researchers used computer simulations to design coils that generate the magnetic field required for wireless power transfer.
    Photo: Genevieve Martin/Oak Ridge National Laboratory/U.S. Department of Energy

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    Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee have developed wireless charging technology that they say could fill up a typical electric car today in under an hour. This represents a six-fold improvement over a similar wireless charging system they announced in 2016. That plugless EV charging technology, they report, is now being modified for commercial applications including delivery trucks.

    And the team isn’t done, says Burak Ozpineci, leader of Oak Ridge’s Power Electronics and Electric Machinery group. They are, he says, working toward the larger goal set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) to build a portfolio of rapid, safe, and easy electric vehicle-charging systems—which would, as the DoE’s 2016 mandate put it, “accelerate electric vehicle adoption in the United States.”

    The idea is to increase the power throughput of their present system by another factor of three—bringing the total charge time for an empty electric vehicle (EV) battery to under 15 minutes. All without needing to plug anything in to the car or really do anything other than drive the EV over a wireless charging plate embedded in the concrete.

    The Energy Department’s mandate, Ozpineci says, didn’t specify whether such systems should be wired or wireless. But he adds, “Our expertise is in the wireless side. So we said, we’ll do the wireless part.”

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