Wireless Charging to Be Showcased at Battery Electric Race Series
Wireless technology from Qualcomm will be used to charge the BMW safety cars for the new Formula E series of 100% battery electric races, beginning with next month’s opening event, the ePrix in Beijing, organizer FIA Formula E confirmed Tuesday.
The FIA Formula tech team is evaluating BMW i8 and BMW i3 models for the races’ safety, medical and extraction car roles. The chosen cars “will be fitted with Qualcomm Halo wireless charging technology,” states FIA Formula E a release – “an inductive charging system which allows the car’s battery to be charged without the use of cables… [permitting] the cars to be rapidly deployed as required during each practice, qualifying and race.”
QualComm promotes wireless charging as a vital enabler for commercialization of battery electric vehicles, as it holds the promise for drivers to simply park their vehicles, whereupon an automatic system takes over, using magnetic resonance to transfer energy inductively, rather than via metal-to-metal conductive connectors.
“As electric vehicles become more ubiquitous, charging them wirelessly is an obvious next step in the EV evolution,” Qualcomm wireless charging GM Steve Pazol says in the Formula E release. “Motorsport,” he noted, “is a known proving ground for new technologies.”
The equivalent of today’s Level II AC charging is well within the reach of the technology, says Anthony Thomson, a co-founder of HaloIPT, an offshoot of the University of Auckland in New Zealand which was acquired by San Diego-based Qualcomm three years ago (F&F, May 10, 2011). Qualcomm has 6.6-kilowatt Halo units, and as worked as high as 20 kilowatts, he says.
V2G Is OK
Also possible is the two-way transfer of energy necessary for V2G/vehicle-to-grid architectures. “You can absolutely do it bi-directionally,” Thomas told F&F.
Qualcomm is engineering a commercially viable system, working on optimum ways to easily position the vehicle’s receptor with the in-floor or on-floor transmitter, and addressing safety issues as wide-ranging as compatibility with medical devices and the possibility of animals treading on the transmitter and causing a hazard.
“There is no ‘Charging a Car Wirelessly’ rulebook at the moment,” Thomas notes.
OEM and fleet projects are welcome, Thomson says. “Our business model,” he explains, “is to develop the technology and license it to Tier One manufacturers.”
‘Ground-Breaking,” Says Formula E
“Qualcomm’s wireless charging system is ground-breaking technology and represents an exciting evolution for charging electric vehicles,” Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag says in his organization’s announcement.
“Wireless charging has the potential to radically improve the electric vehicle driver experience and Formula E provides the perfect platform in which to develop, test and showcase this exciting new technology,” Agag said.
The chosen vehicle for the Formula E races will be officially dubbed the “Qualcomm Safety Car.” They “will be positioned at the end of the pitlane, charging wirelessly and ready to be rapidly deployed as required during each practice, qualifying and race,” Formula E says.
Following Beijing on September 13, the Formula E series moves to Malaysia on November 22. Ten races are planned, culminating in June 2015 in London, with nine venues selected, including Miami and Long Beach, Calif. in March and April 2015. The circuit also includes Berlin, Buenos Aires and Monte Carlo.
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Source: Qualcomm and Formula E with Fleets & Fuels follow-up