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Researchers develop 20KW wireless charging system for electric vehicles

ABR Staff Writer Published 06 April 2016

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a 20KW wireless charging system for electric vehicles.

The wireless system claims to offer three times more efficiency than that provided by plug-in systems commonly used for electric vehicles today. The new development can accelerate the adoption of electric cars.

ORNL power electronics team lead Madhu Chinthavali said: "We have set a path forward that started with solid engineering, design, scale-up and integration into several Toyota vehicles. We now have a technology that is moving closer to being ready for the market."

The scientists at ORNL have demonstrated the development in partnership with Toyota, Cisco Systems, Evatran, and Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

The 20KW wireless charging system for passenger cars was developed in less than three years.

The researchers developed the system by defining a unique architecture that included an ORNL-built inverter, isolation transformer, vehicle-side electronics and coupling technologies.

They demonstrated the system by integrating the single-converter system into an electric Toyota RAV4 equipped with an additional 10-kilowatt hour battery.

ORN vehicle systems program manager David Smith said: "Wireless power transfer is a paradigm shift in electric vehicle charging that offers the consumer an autonomous, safe, efficient and convenient option to plug-in charging.

"The technology demonstrated today is a stepping stone toward electrified roadways where vehicles could charge on the go."

ORNL researchers are already looking to develop 50-kilowatt wireless charging system that would have the power levels similar to those present in commercially available plug-in quick chargers.

Toyota provided several vehicles for the research, including RAV4s, a Scion and a Plug-in Prius.