Ex-NASA scientist looks to develop wireless charging roads for EVs

Andrew Sluys
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Wireless charging technology is something that has been in our phones for some years now, and is even in our cars. But is there a way that we could charge our cars using the same tech? 

While a real-world solution is still a few years off, a group of researchers at Cornell have begun work on this technology, which will use similar fields to charge cars as they drive. 

According to Khurram Afridi, an associate professor at Cornall, the magnetic field required to charge a mobile phone is a lot smaller and less complex than the field needed to charge a moving vehicle without touching the surface. 

Instead of using magnetic fields, Afridi mentioned that his team is looking into high-frequency electrical fields, that should have enough grunt to charge a car from afar. 

“They thought it was not feasible because they did not think of going to the high level of frequencies that I was thinking of,” Afridi said. “But, that has always been my area of research. It is really my passion to go to very high frequencies and push the technology to its highest potential frequency.”

Afridi's team has reported made developments in charging cars with up to 18cm of ground clearance, which is more than enough for an average electric vehicle.

The vehicle would be charged via plates embedded in the road, allowing the car to gain charge as it passes over these plates. 

As you can imagine, setting this sort of infrastructure up would take a very long time, and would be incredibly expensive, but would be another incentive for EV adoption. 

Afridi suggests the plates could be installed at stop signs and traffic lights, where cars would be spending a bit of time stationary, allowing them to regain handfuls of charge at a time. 

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