UBC develops wireless EV charger [VIDEO]

Method operates at frequencies 100 times lower than current charging technologies.

VANCOUVER—A team of University of British Columbia (UBC) researchers have invented a wireless charging technology that charges electric vehicles (EV) that eliminates the need to constantly plug and unplug an EV when it runs out of juice.

“Wireless charging has been a much sought-after technical solution for everything from cell phones to electric cars,” says UBC physics professor Lorne Whitehead. “A significant concern for charging cars wirelessly has been the high power and high frequency electromagnetic fields and their unknown, potential health effects on humans.”

Whitehead and his team invented a completely different method operating at a frequency 100 times lower and with negligible exposed electric fields. Their solution uses “remote magnetic gears” – a rotating base magnet driven by electricity from the grid, and a second located within the car – to eliminate the use of radio waves. The base gear remotely spins the in-car gear, which in turns generates power to charge the battery.

Four wireless charging stations have been installed at UBC’s Building Operations parking lot and service vehicles retrofitted with the new technology. Tests show the system is more than 90% efficient compared to a cable charge. A full charge takes four hours and enables the vehicle to run throughout an eight-hour shift.

“One of the major challenges of electric vehicles is the need to connect cords and sockets in often cramped conditions and in bad weather,” says David Woodson, managing director of UBC Building Operations. “The feedback from drivers has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The magnetically driven charging system was originally designed for medical devices, but a larger system, supported by the NSERC Idea to Innovation Grant, was tested at UBC as part of the Campus as a Living Laboratory initiative.

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Check out this video to see the technology in action.