Halo charging technology used at speeds in excess of 100kmph
It has been a big week for progress in wireless charging.
The latest announcement comes from Renault and Qualcomm, who report that they have successfully demonstrated the process at “highway speeds.”
Dubbed dynamic electric vehicle charging (DEVC), the process allows vehicles to charge their batteries while driving. The system demonstrated is based on Qualcomm’s Halo wireless charging technology, the same technology being used in the 2018 refresh of the Mercedes-Benz S550e, albeit the latter is a static application.
As part of the project with Renault, Qualcomm has designed and built a wireless DEVC system capable of providing up to 20 kilowatts of charging output while the car moves at highway speeds (according to Renault, in excess of 100kmph). In this case, the vehicles user were two Renault Kangoos, which the automaker had modified to incorporate Qualcomm wireless charging.
The system allows vehicles to pick up charge in both directions along the track, and while moving in reverse. It can also charge two vehicles moving simultaneously – a key ability if the technology were ever to be considered for use in major road infrastructure.
The demonstrations took place at a 100m test track, built by VEDECOM at Satory Versailles as part of the so-called FABRIC project (about the worst acronym of all time, given that it stands for “FeAsiBility analysis and development of on-Road chargIng solutions for future electric vehicles”). FABRIC is a 9 million euro project, mostly funded by the European Commission, which seeks to examine the technological feasibility of wireless DEVC as a means of EV range extension, as well as economic viability, and sustainability of wireless DEVC. The project began in January 2014 and will end in December 2017.
With the concept proven in vehicles, the Halo DEVC system will now be handed over to VEDECOM to perform further tests to assess operation, safety and efficiency of energy transfer to the vehicles in practical scenarios including vehicle identification and authorization on entering track, power level agreement between track and vehicle, speed and alignment of vehicle along track.
If successful, the technology could find its way into more Renault models in the future. Renault electric vehicle program director Eric Feunteun noted: “We see dynamic charging as a great vision to further enhance the ease of use of EVs, thus the accessibility of EVs for all.”
Qualcomm VP and general manager for wireless charging, Steve Pazol was equally ebullient: “We are inventors. We are WEVC. This dynamic charging demonstration is the embodiment of this. I am immensely proud of what we have achieved. The combination of a global team of expert engineers and Qualcomm Halo technology, which covers all aspects of WEVC systems, irrespective of the magnetics used, has enabled us to really push the boundaries of the possible and outline our vision for future urban mobility.”
We expect to hear more of the outcome of the FABRIC project towards the end of the year.