A Kiwi company could be revolutionising the electric car market, thanks to the recent London launch of the world’s first wireless technology, which allows parked or moving electric cars to charge automatically. Called IPT (Inductive Power Transfer), it works by fitting cars with a receiver pad to charge automatically when parked over transmitter pads buried into the ground. The wireless charging pads are designed to function beneath asphalt, submerged in water or covered in ice and snow. Fast-forward into the future, and the technology could be embedded into road infrastructure so IPT cars can be charged on the move.
What gives this system an advantage over traditional electric vehicles is that it takes the bulk of energy storage away from an electric vehicle—be it a car, bicycle, scooter, light/heavy goods vehicle or even a bus—and places the energy into the grid. It’s a move the UK-based company HaloIPT— owned by Auckland UniServices Ltd and Ove Arup & Partners—describes as “the next logical step” and one that could break down barriers to the mass-market adoption of electric vehicles. It says In-motion charging represents the most effective way of solving the range issues faced by electric vehicles today and will significantly reduce battery size requirements.
“The potential is huge,” explains Auckland UniServices Ltd chief executive Peter Lee. “The delivery of this benefit will be global but the high technology end of the business will stay in New Zealand.”
The technology has received backing from the Electric Car Corporation’s (ECR) chief executive David Martell, who says ECR is very keen to work with companies that are growing the electric vehicle market and helping it reach its full potential.
“Wireless charging using HaloIPT technology will not only offer an electric vehicle driver a robust alternative to cable charging at home, but also has the potential to bring a range of new opportunities to both the driver and the electric vehicle industry in the future,” says Martell.
The technology is the handy work the University of Auckland’s Power Electronics Group. The group is led by electrical engineers Professor John Boys and Associate Professor Grant Covic from the Faculty of Engineering at the University.
Dr Boys describes the development as exciting and understandably derives a lot of satisfaction from seeing research originally developed in the basement of the Engineering Faculty at the University of Auckland more than 20 years ago (1989), now making it on to the international stage.
So at what price does this technology come? Not more than your average plug-in version, according to Dr Anthony Thomson, chief executive of HaloIPT. “Our vision at HaloIPT is to simplify and improve the electric car experience. This is like the shift to mobile phones and WiFi- we’re making it easier, simpler and safer to own and charge an electric vehicle. Keeping electric vehicle costs down has also been a key priority for us – our technology will not cost any more than the plug-in equivalent,
Check out the video below to see exactly how the technology works, or read HERE for more sepcifics.