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Plugless Power for Electric Cars

Forgot to plug in your electric vehicle? Rebecca Hough hopes to fix that with Evatran’s charging pad for cars.
Evatran founder Rebecca Hough

Rebecca Hough envisions a world in which transmitting devices embedded in highways will automatically charge your electric vehicle as you drive. If and when that happens, she hopes to already have a strong foothold in the electric vehicle (EV) market with Plugless Power, a system that wirelessly charges your car, similar to how a charging pad juices up your iPhone.

Hough developed Plugless Power with her father, Tom Hough, the founder of Wytheville, Virginia-based MTC Transformers, which makes the kinds of large electrical transformers you see on telephone poles. “He started thinking about the next big market segment and began talking to his engineers about using the same technology behind transformer design to power electric cars,” says Hough. At the time, she was working at a consulting company in New York but “really got the bug and jumped on board” with her dad in 2009.

The Houghs created Evatran, initially a subsidiary of MTC, to research a plugless power system and build a prototype for the EV industry. A year later, the company was spun off as a separate entity with Rebecca as CEO. She helped raise $2.5 million from private investors and $4 million in Department of Energy grants, and recruited partners such as Google, Hertz, Duke Energy, and Bosch to test and give feedback on Evatran’s product. The system consists of a charging station that’s installed in a garage or a driveway, and a receiving device on the undercarriage of the vehicle. Energy is transmitted and converted into electrical current automatically whenever the vehicle is parked. No physical connection is needed.

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