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Energy Dynamics Laboratory Achieves Historic Milestone for Electric Vehicles

published: 2011-07-08 14:46

Utah State University Research Foundation's Energy Dynamics Laboratory recently operated the first high-power, high-efficiency wireless power transfer system capable of transferring enough energy to quickly charge an electric vehicle.  The lightweight, low-profile system demonstrated 90 percent electrical transfer efficiency of five kilowatts over an air gap of 10 inches.  The demonstration at EDL's North Logan, Utah, facility further validates that electric vehicles can efficiently be charged with wireless technology.

"This demonstration is an extraordinary and historic step in providing technologies to electric vehicle owners who will be able to pull their cars into garages at home and charge without having to plug in with cords," said Jeff Muhs, director of the Energy Dynamics Laboratory.  "Our scientists and engineers have proven that enough power can be transferred over large distances to safely and efficiently charge electric car batteries from a pad under the ground to a receiver attached to the undercarriage of a vehicle – and this is just the beginning."

Based on the same theory that currently enables consumers to wirelessly charge toothbrushes and cell phones, EDL has expanded the technology to levels and efficiencies that are unprecedented.  EDL also demonstrated that the wireless power transfer system it has developed is tolerant of lateral misalignment in any direction within approximately six inches.  The power level and efficiency specifications are firsts in the United States for a system of this kind and the combined performance is unique in the world.

"In the not-so-distant future, we will see vehicles go from being charged by plugging into the electric grid, to wirelessly charging in garages, shopping centers and dedicated refueling stations, to mass transit vehicles that are charged as they are in motion and eventually wireless electric roadways where cars will travel at 75 miles per hour while being charged," stated Muhs.  "Future versions of the system architecture developed at EDL have the unique potential to be embedded under pavement and transfer power wirelessly to vehicles at speeds of 75 mph or more and provide enough power to completely eliminate the range anxiety of electric vehicles.  Wireless power transfer represents the disruptive technology that will eventually enable the safe and efficient electrification of highways, end our dependence on foreign oil, and enable a new era of enhanced mobility."

EDL's wireless power transfer technology will be discussed with industry leaders from around the world and demonstrated during the Conference on Electric Roads & Vehicles (CERV), February 27-28, 2012, in Park City, Utah.  

Founded in 2009, EDL develops and deploys transformational energy systems, providing considerable improvements to U.S. energy security in the following five areas: Intuitive and Solar Buildings, Vehicle and Roadway Electrification, Environmental and Wind Measurements, Next Generation Fossil Energy, and Algae Energy Systems. EDL focuses on prototyping; demonstrating, deploying and commercializing innovative technologies for renewable and advanced energy systems that will help solve national and international environmental issues. EDL provides customers and partners with innovative, high‐value solutions and services that can rapidly be commercialized through industry friendly practices and efficient technology transfer.

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