IT WILL soon be possible to charge the batteries of an electric car while it is driving at 120km/h, as recently demonstrated in France using wireless inductive chargers.
A number of late-model cars feature inductive charging for compatible smartphones, while several electric concept cars have also included a beefed-up version of this technology to preview a more convenient charging method when parked.
A modified version of the Qualcomm Halo system already applied for static inductive charging of BMW i8 and i3 support vehicles to the all-electric Formula E race series has now been proven to work when a compatible vehicle is in motion.
For the demonstration, Qualcomm laid 100 metres of inductive chargers into a trench so they sat flush with the road surface, although in real-world applications the system can be buried up to 15cm below the road surface and is unaffected by rain, ice, snow or debris such as roadkill.
The chargers detect the vehicle passing over them and transmit an electromagnetic pulse of up to 20 kW. A receiver plate fitted to the underside of the vehicle converts the pulse into electricity for driving the wheels or to store in the battery.
Qualcomm managed to simultaneously charge two Renault Kangoo Z.E electric vans at speeds of up to 100km/h in tests.
The company has already announced the first production car to have its Halo wireless charging technology as an option will be the Mercedes-Benz S550e plug-in hybrid, which will be hitting showrooms in some markets as this edition goes to print.
However the big Benz (pictured below) will only charge when stationary, with dynamic wireless charging expected to become available on as-yet unannounced production cars within three years.