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Wireless Power On The Go

Electric vehicle fuel costs are about one third the amount a conventional car spends on fuel in North Carolina.
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Researchers at NC State University have come up with a safer and more efficient way to wirelessly transfer power. They’re working toward creating a process to charge electric cars that are in motion. The team of engineers has recently improved a process to send power from a stationary source to a mobile receiver.  The long-term goal is to have highway charging stations that run along the road, and would power electric vehicles.

“You would power a section of the roadway using this technology. Vehicles have this type of receiver on it would use this special lane and essentially get a boost instead of stopping the vehicle and getting a fast charge that would take say half an hour,” said Srdjan Lukic, an NC State researcher. He envisions a wireless charging station that would run along the highway.

Lukic says one major obstacle to this is cost. These wireless charging stations would come at a significant price to utility companies or car manufacturers, but he believes it would be profitable. He also says power must be transmitted at a level low to the ground, so as not to put any passengers at risk of being in an electric field.  Researchers are able to transfer about 500 watts of energy wirelessly, a small fraction of what is needed to give a vehicle enough power to extend its driving range. He says the next step in research is to mount a wireless power receiver on a golf cart.  

Jeff Tiberii covers politics for WUNC. Before that, he served as the station's Greensboro Bureau Chief.
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