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USA: A wireless charger for your electric car? Utah State laboratory says why not?

As the idea of electric vehicles flooding the highways and byways of the United States becomes closer and closer to reality (I didn’t say it was exactly close, just that it seems like it’s getting closer every day), more and more scientific laboratories and companies are devising products that will help us when we’re all tooling around in electric cars.

One of the issues that has come up when consumers are contemplating an electric-car future is this: The pain in the neck that will be waiting for your car to charge at a roadside charging station, or a station in your garage. Think about it: Now, when our cars are low on fuel, we go to the gas station, spend about five minutes there filling up and buying snacks and drinks, then get back in our cars and go on our way.

But electric vehicle-recharging is going to take a lot longer than that. In the early models out there, such as the Nissan Leaf, cars will need to be re-charged for about eight hours. A Tesla Roadster will take about 3 1/2 hours to charge as well.

Clearly, customers don’t want to wait that long for a fill-up, and that certainly could be one of the drawbacks to more people switching over to electric cars.

Seeing this problem and trying to do something about it are the scientists at Utah State University’s Energy Dynamics Laboratory. For the past two years the EDL ( it’s owned by the Utah State University Board of Regents, but operates as a non-profit) has been working on electric car wireless recharging technology (also called wireless power transfer technology), trying to develop a prototype that will allow electric-car owners to charge their car’s battery while the car is in motion.

This “wireless energy and power conversion group” at EDL is attempting to capture magnetic fields (I’ll explain that in a minute), convert it to electrical power, and use that power to charge the electric car’s battery.

As of this writing, the EDL lab in Utah, and its spin-off company, WAVE Technologies (which was formed to potentially mass-market these “charging pads” to consumers) have created a prototype and are trying to arrange a test with an electric-vehicle bus on the campus of the University of Utah.



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