Saturday, September 23, 2023
News Ford is the Latest Automaker to Look at Wireless Charging for EVs

Ford is the Latest Automaker to Look at Wireless Charging for EVs

Ford is working on a system that could allow electric cars to charge while driving.

  • A patent describes a system where cars charge from coils buried under the road.

  • The company is also looking at inductive charging for stationary applications.

  • This system could work together with driver assistance technologies.

Charging and range are still some of the most important roadblocks to the adoption of electric vehicles, which is why many automakers are making them priorities.

A few manufacturers have singled out inductive charging, a technology that doesn’t require the vehicle to be plugged in, as a way to make charging more convenient and reduce range anxiety.

Ford is one of these companies since a patent it filed with the US Patent Office late last year describes one such system.

The documents which have recently been uncovered detail how Ford intends to apply inductive charging technologies to its vehicles.

Since this method of charging doesn’t require the vehicle to be plugged into the power grid, it can be done while on the move.

Of course, this means that road infrastructure has to be built with this capability in mind since inductive charging relies on electrified coils being buried just under the surface.

As the vehicle drives along an inductive road, its integrated receiver picks up the current from the coils and transfers it to the battery.

Ford patent for inductive charging | Photo: USPTO

This means that if major highways across North America are equipped with charging coils over the coming years and decades, electric vehicles could have virtually limitless range, with the battery capacity being required only for driving in town or on rural roads.

In addition, drivers who spend most of their time behind the wheel on these roads might never have to stop for a charge.

Making use of inductive charging would also allow smaller batteries to be used in vehicles without compromising their useability for most use cases, thus making it possible to develop and sell more affordable and “greener” EVs.

Obviously, there are still some issues to work out with these types of systems, but Ford has come up with a solution to at least one.

Indeed, cars have to be driving directly over the coils in order for their receivers to pick up the current, which might be difficult to achieve since the infrastructure is not really visible for the driver.

This is why Ford’s patent includes a ground-penetrating radar that would detect the exact position of the coils in order to relay this information to the driver assistance systems, which could then align the vehicle perfectly.

Tests of similar systems have been conducted successfully by other companies in Europe over the last few years, but no automaker currently offers a vehicle capable of charging while going down the road.

An area where inductive charging is more advanced is for stationary vehicles, however. Indeed, some vehicles such as the Genesis GV60 can now be ordered with inductive charging capabilities in certain markets.

This way of replenishing the battery will be especially useful for autonomous vehicles since it doesn’t require any human intervention, the vehicle simply has to drive up to a charging pad and then leave when its battery is sufficiently full.

In order not to be left out, Ford has also included details about such a technology in the same patent.

It will be interesting to see if governments around the world deem inductive charging to be promising enough to modify the way they build roads over the coming years.

Source: Motor Authority

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