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Pulling the plug on electric vehicles

John Day

John Day

Posted Apr 20, 2011

Except for the time the gas pump failed to shut off automatically and an unfortunate amount of gas failed to make it into my car’s tank, and the times that I have had to struggle to pry open a frozen gas cap, pumping gas never seemed like all that big a deal to me, so to the extent that I thought about it at all, I presumed that charging an electric vehicle would be similarly simple – except for not having to wait until the tank/battery is full.

But then I saw a demonstration of Delphi Automotive’s new wireless charging technology and began to think “what if?” Would I always remember to plug-in my EV at night? I suppose I would, especially after the first time I forgot – like never again leaving the gas pump unattended. But it’s one more thing to have to worry about, and the idea of being able to drive into a garage and not have to think about charging is appealing.

Delphi’s Wireless Charging System, featuring technology developed by WiTricity Corporation, eliminates the need for a charging cord. Drivers just park their EV over a wireless energy source on the garage floor or embedded in a paved parking spot. The technology uses “highly resonant magnetic coupling” which Delphi says offers advantages over traditional inductive systems. It transfers power over larger distances and can cope with the misalignment that can occur with vehicle positioning during parking. Charging sources can be buried in pavement and are unaffected by snow, ice, or rain.

Delphi says its system will automatically transfer power to an EV battery at the same rate as most residential plug-in chargers, and can do so with small, light modules. That’s for home, versus on the road, where Delphi offers a portable EV charger that fits in a car’s trunk.

EV makers appear to have home charging solutions under control and an EV charging infrastructure is beginning to emerge. It will be interesting to watch the market develop.

Delphi automotive, EV charging infrastructure, charging an electric vehicle, WiTricity Corporation, portable EV charger, wireless charging technology

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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Comments 2

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Looks interesting, but call me a skeptic. They're saying that they can inductively charge a car with the same efficiency as a big hunk of copper wire? Note that we're going to these electric vehicles for the sake of efficiency, not because we like them. A loss of 1 or 2% becomes a huge drag on the ecosystem when multiplied by millions of cars.

David Cuddihy
3:06 PM Apr 21, 2011

There is a technical issue with coupling of the electro magnetic field into the rotational speed sensors in particular for the wheel speed sensors that are used for active safety and chassis control systems such as ABS and ESC. This problems has been identified in the field with parking ramps that has been wired with electrical heating system.

3:53 PM May 11, 2011

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