i3 - March/April 2016 - 17

Top: Courtesy Plugless

"Perhaps as you get these 200-mile EVs in the
heart of the market-where the average transaction price is $34,000-$35,000-the owners of
those cars are not going to be clamoring as much
for charging infrastructure," says Sam Abuelsamid,
senior research analyst at Navigant Research in
Boulder, CO. "That also opens up an opportunity
for wireless charging at home," boosting the convenience of at-home top-offs.
Nevertheless, "one of the issues with wireless
charging is the technology is still relatively in its
infancy," Abuelsamid says. Although an SAE standard named J2954 is in development, it has not
been finalized, while the SAE standard for different
types of wired EV charging (named J1772) are well
entrenched. More, "right now there are no OEM
[automaker] solutions for wireless charging, and it
will probably be at least another three to five years
before we see any OEMs offering that" along with
interoperability (letting any wireless charger work
with any EV), he notes.
There is an aftermarket wireless charging system
available today for just a few EVs, from Evatran
Group Inc., based in Richmond, VA-and according to Steve Cummings, senior manager of brand
and marketing strategy, Evatran so far is alone in
the consumer-oriented wireless EV charging market. Its product sold under the brand name Plugless, comes in versions for the Chevy Volt ($1,260),
Nissan Leaf ($1,540) and Cadillac ELR ($1,940).
It's composed of three parts: a control panel
installed on the garage wall, which is connected
to an inductive coil "parking pad" that sits on the
garage floor, and a "vehicle adapter" fixed to the
bottom of the EV that receives the energy from the
pad and transmits it to the vehicle's built-in J1772
charger. It does this over a 100 millimeter (slightly
less than four-inch) gap between the pad and the
receiver. Of course, the vehicle must be parked in
exactly the right position over the pad for the power
to be transmitted most efficiently, and even then
there is a 12 percent efficiency loss versus a comparable, 3.3 kilowatts (kW) "Level 2" wired charging
system, Cummings says. By Evatran's calculation,
this would cost a Volt driver an extra 33 cents per
evening charge based on an average electricity price
of 13 cents per kilowatt hour.
The Plugless Level 2 EV charging system for those
vehicles debuted in 2014. This year, Evatran will add
a 6.6kW system for the Tesla Model S, and another
3.3kW system for the BMW i3, Cummings says.
"Largely why some of the OEMs are waiting for a
standard is because it will allow wireless EV charging to integrate directly into the battery in a way
that is cost-effective, across all car manufacturers,"
C TA . t e c h / i 3

"Perhaps as
you get these
200-mile EVs in
the heart of the
market-where
the average
transaction price
is $34,000-
$35,000-the
owners of those
cars are not going
to be clamoring
as much for
charging
infrastructure."
-Sam Abuelsamid,
Navigant Research

Audi Fast Charging
Stations will be able
to replenish the
new BEV CUV to

80%

of battery
capacity within

30

minutes.

he adds, noting that Evatran participates in the
SAE J2954 committee.
WHAT AUTOMAKERS ARE DOING TODAY-
AND FOR TOMORROW
To be sure, automakers are innovating in both the
wired and wireless charging spaces, in many cases
through collaborative efforts.
In early 2014, for example, Audi set up Audi
ONE, an internal organization tasked with
researching and developing new products, charging
infrastructure and ways to market EVs to consumers. The work ties into Audi's stated goal that 25
percent of its vehicle offerings should be plug-in
vehicles by 2025-including a PHEV version of its
flagship A8 sedan and an all-new BEV crossover
utility vehicle (CUV) that is scheduled to launch in
late 2018 with a range of 250 miles.
"This is in large part evolving our business to
support electric. It's a new powertrain strategy that
will become increasingly pervasive," says Wayne
Killan, electric vehicle architect at Audi ONE in
Herndon, VA.
To support that evolution, by 2018 Audi will provide a nationwide network of "fast charging" stations along U.S. highways. Further, the equipment
will be rated at 150kW, which is three times more
powerful than the standard DC fast chargers today,
and even more powerful than the 135kW fast chargers provided by Tesla's charging station network,
Killan says. These Audi chargers can replenish the
new BEV CUV to 80 percent of its battery capacity
within 30 minutes, he says.
But Audi will not build this network alone,
Killan says. Talks with other automakers have been
ongoing for about a year, he explains, adding a
network of 200 to 400 charging stations, each with
multiple chargers available, will be created over two
to three years.
An obstacle is how to tie this new network and
existing networks together so that users can recharge
anywhere but have the bill sent to only one account.
To that end, Audi is one of the founders of the
ROEV Association, a trade group announced last
MARCH/APRIL 2016

17


http://standards.sae.org/wip/j2954/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAE_J1772 https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_5_6_a http://www.roev.org http://www.CTA.tech/i3

i3 - March/April 2016

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