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Wireless car charging to be trialled in UK

One of the biggest bugbears associated with electric car ownership may soon take a back seat as Qualcomm has begun testing wireless charging could make plugging in your cat at night a thing of the past.

Wired charging? Where we're going we don't need wired charging?
Wired charging? Where we’re going we don’t need wired charging?

The Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging trial, to give it its full name, will be added to six sites in and around London by street-side technology company Chargemaster, providing electric cars with the ability to charge up without the need to plug themselves in.

To initiate charging, a driver simply needs to drive onto an area of road that contains the wireless pad. A magnetic field supplies power from the pad installed in the ground to one installed on the car. We won’t go too deeply into the science, but suffice to say it’s based on technology you might already find in the charging station of your electric toothbrush and in some mobile phones.

Qualcomm, which is behind this particular form of inductive charging, says it will only be fractionally less efficient but no slower than a physical connection. The technology could be deployed not just on pads, but on entire stretches of road, allowing you to charge your car battery whilst on the move.

Before you lay down a deposit on that Nissan Leaf or the Renault Twizy you’ve been so close to buying, you should know a couple of things. Firstly, there’s no guarantee the technology will ever come into public use as there are plenty of infrastructure hurdles and regulatory barriers to get over before this is deployed in any meaningful way. Secondly, assuming the go-ahead is given, the reality is still a number of years away – and those years may reveal technologies that are even more effective.

The first phase of the trial will see privately run Delta E4 Coupes testing the technology. Phase two, scheduled for 2013, will see Renault begin a test with its Fluence saloon. Only in 2014 at the earliest will we see inductive charging within Renault electric taxis. You and your Twizy have some wait, then.

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