Throughout the electric vehicle (“EV”) sector’s relatively short life, charging has been a major hindrance to adoption. Not only do EVs take much longer to charge compared to conventional cars, especially in the absence of fast-charging infrastructure, but there is barely enough public charging infrastructure to support the current number of EVs on the road.
As industry stakeholders strive to rectify this issue, wireless charging is emerging as a possible solution to the charging problem that currently plagues the EV sector. This type of charging eliminates the need for cables and transfers energy via the air to induction charging kits installed on the underside of the EV.
Although the idea for wireless charging has been around for a while, it wasn’t until recently that the technology has been mass produced for some mobile phone models. In a move that is bound to advance the adoption of wireless charging in the EV space, a United Kingdom company has commenced the world’s first public trial of the technology. Electric vehicle infrastructure innovator char.gy has announced a partnership with Hiyacar, a UK-based peer-to-peer car rental company to test its industry-defining wireless charging solutions. The 12-month program will run in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, and Hiyacar providing 10 Renault Zoes. There will be nine more trials in locations around Buckinghamshire and Milton Keyes with char.gy’s new induction pads front and center.
The technology was developed in concert with the University of Warwick, the Open University, IPT Technology, Buckinghamshire Council, and London Borough of Redbridge with support from hiyacar. Funding for the project was provided by the Office for Zero-Emission Vehicles (“OZEV”) and Innovate UK.
Since most of the EV models on the market are not compatible with wireless charging, hiyacar fitted the 10 EVs with aftermarket induction charging kits as well as keyless QuickStart technology, app-based booking and automated driver verification infrastructure to make the car-sharing program more efficient.
Once the program officially kicks off, drivers will be able to wirelessly charge an EV on an induction pad installed in a designated parking spot in Liston Road Car Park. Drivers will rent one of the modified EVs via the hiyacar app for £1 ($1.37) per hour or £5 ($6.83) per day, including insurance, and they will be contacted by the Open University to provide feedback that will allow char.gy and its partners to gauge the success of the program. If the trials prove that wireless charging can be a feasible charging option, we will be a step closer to eliminating a major barrier to EV adoption and achieving long-term emission goals.
As more companies seek for remedies to the EV charging conundrum, electric vehicle manufacturers such as Kandi Technologies Group Inc. (NASDAQ: KNDI) are also fine-tuning battery tech to ensure that motorists experience more range from a single charge, and it will not be long before the contributions of each actor converge to deliver widespread EV adoption.
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