Sun, Sep 09, 2018 - Page 15 News List

The plug-free way to fill the world with e-vehicles

By Anna Hirtenstein, Brian Eckhouse and Elisabeth Behrmann  /  Bloomberg

“The equipment on the vehicle is cheaper and more lightweight than existing plug-in charging equipment by a factor of five to 10 times,” McCool said. “We’re also future-proofing for autonomous electric vehicles. If you don’t need a human to park the car, you shouldn’t need to a human to charge the car.”

This technology could also potentially provide a solution to the issue of how to charge electric cars in densely populated cities.

Today, most drivers of the plug-in cars on the road almost always charge up at home. That requires a garage or a driveway.

Installing Hevo’s devices in apartment building parking lots and along residential streets could help open up new markets, from New York to Tokyo, where access to plugs can prove difficult.

“Wireless charging technology has improved steadily and can definitely make charging at home more convenient,” said Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transportation analysis at BNEF. “The most promising near-term applications are en-route charging for buses. For widespread adoption, several major automakers would need to fully back the technology.”

Brooklyn-based Hevo is working with three automakers, two top auto parts suppliers and three energy companies.

BMW AG is already selling a car with wireless charging capability:The 530e hybrid has been available in Germany since May.

Daimler AG, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, presented the technology as a charging solution when it launched its S-Class plug-in hybrid and Daimler spokesman Christoph Sedlmayr said the company would introduce it as soon as it is “technically fully developed.”

Wireless charging might threaten the conventional electric-vehicle charging industry that has already millions of US dollars.

Investment into companies building charging networks last year rose 165 percent to US$345 million, according to Cleantech Group.

Oil companies have made moves into charging to allay concerns about losing customers at gas stations.

Several European utilities, from Fortum Oyj of Finland to Innogy SE in Germany, are installing thousands of chargers in garages, parking lots and next to highways across the continent.

If it can be commercialized, technology like Hevo’s might some day shake up these plans.

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