You can imagine the scene. Electric vehicles suddenly take off and all of a sudden every street and every car park becomes a sea of cables as drivers attach their pride and joy to the mains.
With just 2,500 pure electric cars registered in the UK (out of a total of 28 million cars on the road) clearly we have a long way to go until we reach this stage, yet how we put juice in the batteries is an important thing to address.
If you believe Qualcomm – a telecoms giant that is turning its attention to charging EVs – then induction is the future.
The principle seems simple enough, at least according to Wikipedia:
“Inductive charging uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two objects. This is usually done with a charging station. Energy is sent through inductive coupling to an electrical device, which then can use that energy to charge batteries.”
The beauty of the idea is that it is ‘wireless’: there is no physical connection between the charging pad and the receiving equipment. They simply need to be in close proximity.
Qualcomm already has two cars on trial in the UK, and provided the induction charging pad used on the experimental electric Rolls Royce Phantom 102EX. It is also about to partner with taxi firm Addison Lee on a larger-scale trial.
Of course, just because the last part of the process is wireless, that does not mean you don’t need extensive cabling to distribute the electricity, but if induction charging makes the EV experience easier for consumers that has to be worth considering. What also adds to the attraction is that induction charging can work while the car is moving and driving over an induction system embedded in the road. None of this sounds cheap, but we are at that stage of EV development where there’s still everything to play for and standards and protocols are still to be set: amongst manufacturers and between nations.