Cooley On Cars
The future of EV charging might happen while you driveWireless charging through pavement could come sooner than you think.
[MUSIC] Let's face it the number one thing holding back electric cars is range anxiety beyond any other consideration. And there are basically three ways you can attack that. Three levers you can pull as you're try to sort that out. One of which is of course to give those cars a bigger battery. that's expensive and it's heavy. Another idea is to make them charge a lot faster. So far we're running into a law called the laws of physics and chemistry, though there may be improvements. Another thing you do is to say "well we'll put charging locations everywhere," so wherever you are, you can top up. But there's a problem with that. You have to stop. Find a spot that's available. Plug in a cable, and have time to do all that. That's where we get into this interesting new idea called dynamic inductive charging, built into roadways. Dynamic inductive charging is the idea of installing wireless charging pads. Like you might see for a phone today? But much bigger and they go under the pavement. That adds juice to the car's battery as it drives over them, but not directly in contact with them. It doesn't give the car a full charge, but it's an effortless, frequent, top-up. No stopping, no plugging in. And we've covered a system like this being early trialed in Europe. But now, it's coming to the US. The Colorado Department of Transportation and engineering firm AECOM are identifying a stretch of road in Colorado to be the first pilot in the United States. They have at least four major hurdles to cross in this pilot, as I can see it. First of all, We've got to learn how much energy can be transferred from this demo road into cars. It will vary by how many cars are in a given stretch of road, the density, as well as the velocity. How fast are those cars moving over those wireless pads under them? Then they've got to deal with billing. No one's doing this entirely for free. There may be government subsidies. But bottom line is somebody wants to turn this into a business, probably an energy company. How do they identify which car picked up how many volts or what as it was moving and send a bill to that owner whether it's fleet or personal? Then there's the weather issue of course. You can imagine this working pretty well in dry weather where the car's got nothing between it and the road. But what if it's caked in snow? Salty snow on top of that. And then of course there's the compatibility issue. From the ground up. They've gotta be thinking about how car makers will begin to build cars that'll work with these kinds of roads if they're ever going to take off. To get an entire auto industry on to one standard. That's tough sometimes. Now, of course, doing this means an infrastructural cost, an infrastructural dig, an installation of a lot of technology, and that brings a price tag with it. 80 com site studies that ballpark it at about a 25% additional expense. If you're building a new road, and go ahead and interject this technology into the asphalt, if you will, that adds To put it another way, about a $1.25 million per mile tariff to create this kind of technology. Okay, bottom line, dynamic inductive charging has a lot of things going for it in concept It would seem to really go after the heart of range anxiety And might also allow the electric car to not only equal the convenience of a gas engine car, but maybe even surpass it. [BLANK_AUDIO]