Wireless charging in 10 minutes is ready

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A team of researchers from Chalmers University in Sweden has developed a very promising induction charging system for electric cars. This offers phenomenal power (up to 500 kW) and requires no wiring. Enough to recharge the battery of an electric car without cables, in just a few minutes.

Xcharge charging station, for illustration
Xcharge charging station, for illustration

Charging is an important issue today, as the electric car market is developing at breakneck speed: in France alone, sales even surpassed those of diesel last year, while the number of terminals continues to slowly increase. . Thus, cars with a very high autonomy are not necessarily relevant.

A practical system

From now on, manufacturers and equipment manufacturers work mainly for propose more powerful terminals, allowing motorists to recharge their cars more quickly. This goes hand in hand with the development of 800 volt technology, which powers many models such as the Kia EV6 and other Porsche Taycans. But a team of scientists is currently working on an alternative.

Several researchers from Chalmers University, located in Sweden, have developed a more practical charging solution than conventional terminals. It is an induction charging system (without cables or wires), capable of delivering an incredible power of 500 kW. For the record, the most efficient terminals currently in service in France are those of Lidl, which top out at 360 kW.

Nio Battery Swap Station

The Chinese manufacturer Nio, which already offers its battery exchange stations, recently launched the deployment of its terminals capable of delivering 500 kW in China to recharge a car from 10 to 80% in 12 minutes. There are also 600 kW terminals at the Chinese giant Geely, to reduce this duration to 10 minutes.

The solution designed by the team of Professor Yujing Liu, head of Chalmers’ electrical engineering department, is the first of its kind to offer such high power, without wires. A tour de force that we owe in particular to the use of silicon carbide semiconductors.

But that is not all. Because to achieve such a result, the system works with a frequency of 80 kHz, against 20 kHz for conventional induction systems currently under development. However, the higher the frequency, the more heat release increases during recharging. To compensate for this, scientists use coils made of litz wires, made up of individually insulated copper wires. A solution that did not exist a few years before.

High efficiency

The other advantage of this system is its excellent performance. In fact, a conventional induction charging device suffers losses of up to 50%. This means that of a quantity of energy consumed, only half reaches the car, the rest is “lost” in heat. The one developed by Chalmers University loses only 1 to 2% of the energy generated, according to the press release. Which is obviously negligible. But that is not all. Because the good surprise is that this technology is so accomplished thatcould soon be marketed.

But this, however, is not planned. In fact, Yujing Liu admits that she isn’t really helpful, while stating that plugging in her electric car with a cable doesn’t take much time. Instead, researchers should aim for industrial use with this solutionwhich should also cost more than a simple classic terminal.

Other companies and manufacturers are also working on the induction charging solution. This is particularly the case with Tesla, which hinted at its future device during its Investor Day on March 1. On the other hand, the manufacturer has not revealed any details about this alternative, which could see the light of day soon.

Volvo also tested the technology on its XC40 Recharge in March 2022, while the London EV Company Limited (LEVC) partnered with Nissan to experiment with it. But for now, this solution is not yet available to the general public.

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