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No strings attached: Inductive coil charges Benz EV

Daimler is testing wireless charging on prototype electric vehicles where drivers park a car of an inductive charging pad rather than plug in.


Instead of plugging a cable into an electric vehicle, drivers may some day just need to park it on the right spot.

Daimler yesterday disclosed it is working on a wireless charging system for electric vehicles that uses inductive charging. Nissan is also working on an inductive charging pad, which is expected to be made available with future versions of the Leaf.

In its tests, Daimler is using a modified Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-Cell, which includes a large coil under the car chassis. The car needs to be positioned above another coil placed on, or built into, the pavement. As current flows in the bottom coil, it produces a magnetic field. If it's close enough to the coil on the car, the field will induce a flow of current to charge its batteries.

Other technology pieces are required for the system to work, including an in-vehicle display system for the car to automatically line up above a charging pad and modified charging stations, according to Conductix-Wampfler, which is supplying components for the test system.

With inductive charging, the current in the bottom coil produces an electromagnetic field, which induces the flow of current in top coil. Conductix-Wampfler

"We have already demonstrated the essential feasibility of the technology. The experience in day-to-day use will now provide important pointers for the further course of development. A number of technical and financial issues also need to be resolved before we can really assess the marketability of this technology." Hebert Kohler, the head of e-drive and future mobility at Daimler's research and development lab, said in a statement.

Daimler, which is testing its wireless charging pads in Germany, has found that the wireless charging is well suited for fleet owners of cars and buses. In addition to improving the efficiency of energy transfer, international standards for wireless charging still need to worked out.