electric car plugged in

Automakers Work to Develop Wireless EV Charging



Cars Could Charge on the Go

Electric cars are becoming more and more popular, but charging logistics remain a concern for many consumers. “Range anxiety, running out of charge before reaching your destination, is one of the biggest consumer hurdles for EV adoption,” said Ram Chandrasekaran, a Principal Analyst with Wood Mackenzie.

Electric vehicle companies are experimenting with chargers that could fuel vehicles while they drive, hopefully changing attitudes about the viability of electric vehicles. The chargers would be embedded in the streets of major cities, and would deliver electricity to cars as they were in motion.

Financial Questions Linger

In 2017 Renault (RNSDF) led a research test with chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) and successfully charged a small van while it was moving at 60 miles per hour. Now Renault is part of a European Union charging project and is preparing to test its dynamic charging technology in the streets of Paris and Versailles. The group of charging projects is being funded by the EU for 15 million euros, or about $18.4 million.

Companies have not yet determined how they will make money from in-street charging, especially because the infrastructure is so expensive. Swedish commercial vehicle maker Scania (SCVA) estimates that it could cost up to $2.5 million to add charging infrastructure to one kilometer of highway.

The Pros and Cons of Dynamic Charging

Critics of dynamic charging argue that investing in the technology is simply too expensive. Since other charging methods already exist and battery prices are largely falling, dynamic charging might not be the most financially viable option.

Meanwhile, supporters say that dynamic charging will only complement other charging options. The charging system could become less costly if public and private funds can work together to deploy the technology at scale. Advocates suggest developing infrastructure first for larger vehicles like delivery trucks before including smaller, personal cars. EV consumers and investors will be eager to see how discussions about dynamic charging unfold.

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