Qualcomm’s dynamic charging tech could make electric vehicles mainstream
Electric vehicles are certainly the future, but in 2017 they’re still a little rough around the edges, aren’t they? Sure, battery tech advancements mean their range is getting better, but EV owners have one other major issue to contend with: charging time.
Simply put, topping up an electric car just isn’t that convenient right now, and although fast charging takes just half an hour, it’s still around 29 minutes longer than refuelling a conventional car. Of course, EV owners will argue that it’s possible to plan these stops into your day, but it’s just another complication.
But now it looks like Qualcomm might have a solution, and it’s going to transform EVs forever. Called dynamic electric vehicle charging (DEVC), the new technology will allow EVs to charge wirelessly while moving – and Qualcomm demonstrated the new technology in Versailles last week.
How does it work?
The new technology is based on Qualcomm’s existing Halo technology, something I’ve already written about and tested. Simply put, Halo uses the same sort of technology used to wirelessly charge phones, but ups the power significantly to charge electric cars instead.
However, while Halo removed the need for plugging in, it still came with all the time drawbacks of normal EV charging – and that’s why this new development is so exciting. Qualcomm’s new technology will allow EV owners to charge while moving at up to highway speeds – ultimately removing the need for charging stops, and maybe even large batteries completely.
Qualcomm says the new technology can charge at a rate of 20 kW per hour and also allows for more than one car or direction, so it’s ready for real-world situations. The technology is a few years away right now, but Qualcomm and its tech partner VEDECOM were able to demonstrate it in Versailles on a 100-metre test track using two adapted Renault Kangoos.
“Being part of this exciting project has enabled us to test and further research dynamic charging on our Kangoo ZE vehicles,” said Eric Feunteun, Renault’s electric vehicle programme director.
“Our engineers have worked very closely with the Qualcomm Technologies and VEDECOM teams to complete the DEVC system integration demonstration as part of FABRIC. We see dynamic charging as a great vision to further enhance the ease of use of EVs, thus the accessibility of EVs for all.”
So how viable is it?
Qualcomm has been quietly working on wireless charging for some time now, but it’s dynamic charging that will truly transform the EV sector – and that’s why it’s already got so much backing. Last week’s demonstration took place in Versailles-based facility – and it’s all part of a FABRIC, a €9 million project funded by the European Commission and backed by 25 organisations from nine European countries.
As you’d expect, that includes everything from carmakers to R&D firms and everything in between, so dynamic charging certainly has all the right people behind it. Of course, it will need to be developed further for both cost, safety and ease of use, but it’s got every chance of appearing on our roads in the future.