Renault has revealed it answer to electric vehicle charging downtime, with a new system that allows wireless vehicle charging as you drive.
The new system, developed in conjunction with Qualcomm and urban mobility research organisation Vedecom takes the principles behind static wireless charging and applies them to moving vehicles at speed up to and beyond 100 km/h.
While the solution sounds promising, widespread infrastructure changes would be required to make Dynamic Wireless Charging a reality, with specialised equipment required to be embedded in the road surfaces where the system would be available.
Vedecom has constructed a 100 metre charging-capable test track in Versailles, France, with the help of Qualcomm, while Renault and Qualcomm collaborated on a pair of specially prepared Renault Z.E. electric vans fitted with the required charging hardware.
Vedecom will use the facility to conduct feasibility testing, including the system’s safety, ability to identify (and therefore correctly invoice) vehicles, any potential charging alignment issues, and power transfer capabilities between the vehicle and the road.
Obvious advantages of dynamic wireless charging include reduced down time to allow electric vehicles to recharge, which can take hours on a fully depleted battery, potentially meaning never needing to plug an EV in again.
Although powered roadways may not be possible in all areas, residual battery change should be enough to allow vehicles to venture off infrastructure-equipped roads. Unlike a tram (or even a slot car) that must remain connected to a power source at all times, away from dynamic charging roads the specially equipped Kangoo Z.E. functions like a normal electric vehicle.
The dynamic charging project began in 2017, with evaluation of the system set to take place until the end of 2017 with 25 partners and nine European countries involved in the program.