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Cars Tony Posawatz Chevy Volt

Published on December 26th, 2013 | by Jo Borrás

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Momentum Dynamics Adds Volt Brainpower To Wireless Charging Team

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December 26th, 2013 by
 
Tony Posawatz Chevy Volt

The field of wireless electric vehicle charging may still be in its infancy, but Pennsylvania’s Momentum Dynamics believes wireless charging for EVs is the future – and we tend to agree! In a bid to secure their position as the dominant force in the industry most likely to relegate gas stations to the dustbins of history, Momentum Dynamics has brought on former GM executive Tony Posawatz.

Posawatz’ record at GM is exemplary, and his crowning achievements at that company were his accomplishments as the Vehicle Line Director for the Chevy Volt. That means Posawatz understands how massive automakers view, consider, and build EVs and hybrids, and, crucially, how to get certain design features pushed through from design to proof-of-concept to production. What that means for Momentum Dynamics and its wireless charging pads is that they now have an inside track- both politically and practically- to help make wireless charging capabilities a reality at the company that currently offers the Chevy Volt, the Cadillac ELR, and the Chevy Spark EV … all of which could benefit tremendously from a system like Momentum’s.

Bringing Posawatz on board is smart move, then, from Momentum – and they know it. “We are delighted Tony will be joining Momentum Dynamics,” said Momentum Dynamics CEO Andy Daga. “His experience and reputation in product innovation, planning and strategy, program management, corporate finance, and extensive knowledge of the automotive industry will provide MD a unique perspective and advantage as we commercialize our technology with our strategic partners.”

Momentum Dynamics first showed the latest, nearly-ready-for-prime-time version of their wireless charging tech back in October, on (of course!) a Chevy Volt. The system is designed to deliver some 20,000 watts of inductive power to a vehicle through ice, snow, or water, and the entire charging process can be completed automatically. This compares to “typical” 110-volt, 15-amp home power outlets that can’t deliver more than 1,800 watts of power – which should allow Momentum’s much more convenient system to reduce charging times by 75%, from 8 hours to 2.

More convenience, faster charge times, and fewer wires? Seems to me like Momentum has hit upon a winning formula. Congrats to both MD and Posawatz, who will be coming on as head of the company’s Technology Advisory Board about the time you read this.

This post was sponsored by Momentum Dynamics.

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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.



  • Benjamin Nead

    No, folks, I’m sure this isn’t “charging while driving.” The sort of thing being described here is an induction pad buried within the floor of a garage or on a parking space, where the car would parked for extended periods. Although efficiency of these wireless induction charging systems is improving, they consume more electricity than a simple plug/cord connection. So, these things are more of a “lifestyle” product for people who are afraid to get their fingernails dirty hooking up a cable, not really a greener solution.

    As for “driving while charging,” the prospect of so-called electrified roads is pure science fiction fantasy and will probably remain so for many years to come. It’s far more practical to invest the money in high speed passenger rail, which the US still doesn’t really have yet on a large scale, and simply repair our existing highways without trying to figure out how to turn them into induction pathways for an amazingly small minority of drivers who would be able to afford a car equipped with complimentary technology.

    In a few short years, batteries will have improved enough that today’s range anxiety will be a thing of the past. Cheaper long range electric cars will be here soon enough.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Buried beneath or glued on top of the floor.

      One inductive charging system is reporting 97% efficiency. That would be a small price to pay for not having to plug/unplug. 35 avg miles per day * 0.3 kWh/mile * $0.12/kWh * 3% loss = 4 cents.

      South Korea has a couple of buses charging while moving using coils buried 8″ under the road surface. About 10% of the road has to be ‘wired’.

      Stanford and U of North Carolina have ‘charge while moving’ systems under development for EVs.

      Very much a fan of HSR. But we also need (at least want) the ability to drive our own vehicles long distances. HSR would replace moderate length air travel over land.

      It makes no sense to pay for and carry around enough batteries to allow for a 500 mile driving day. Somewhere around 200 is plenty with L-3 chargers. If charge while moving can be worked out then a 100 mile range would be find. Put the money in road coils, not batteries that wear out.

      • Benjamin Nead

        Fair enough, Bob. I just can’t help feeling, though, that wireless charging is a solution for a problem that never really existed. Same with all the hubub with self-driving cars. We also have backup cameras and dashboard TV displays in upscale cars these days when, in most cases, a properly designed rear window and rear mirror would solve the problem for a fraction of the cost. But that’s just me and my KISS approach to most of these things.

        I agree that most would not need to have a 500 mile battery pack in their cars. The approximately 300+ miles that most of today’s gas tanks accommodate is actually carefully matched to the capacity of another rather important liquid-carrying vessel . . . the human bladder. :-) We all want to get out of our vehicles after around a nonstop 300 miles or so, if only to stretch a bit. L-3 charging could occur then.

        300 mile range EVs (beyond today’s Tesla S, which is too much of an economic jump for most) isn’t an unreasonable goal . . . especially when increased energy density promised in batteries means that they’ll fit into the same sized physical space of most EVs we see today. Naturally we’ll see a 200 mile “everyman” EV first. It’s all progess in my book.

        As for putting the money into possible electrified roads, the pushback from those who would be using these highways with non-electrified transportation (don’t know advanced biofuels or hydrogen are really going to come up to their respective promises, but I’m not ready to completely count them out.) Also . . . the taxpayer is on the hook for an “induction interstate.” I simply don’t see the political will for such a thing. Future L-3 infrastructure will likely be owned by corporations (a lot of it already is) who hope to run it at a profit and the size of the battery in a private EV is pretty much up to the person who is buying/leasing the vehicle.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’m very much a fan of self-driving cars. A bunch of that is selfishness. I’ve been almost killed twice by drunk drivers and hit while walking on the road shoulder once by an inattentive driver.

          Plus, as I age I can see a time coming when driving is going to be difficult/dangerous. I’d love to be able to live in my mountain retreat rather than move to town simply because of driving difficulties.

          Two hundred miles is, IMO, the threshold for EVs to be fully functional. Start with charged batteries, stop twice for ~20 minutes to get a 90% recharge and you can drive all day and get there about the same time as someone driving a gasmobile.

          L-3 chargers are likely to be installed by restaurants as ways to bring in more customers. People stop for a 20 minute charge, pee, get something to eat and drink. Businesses may offer rapid charging at a loss if it brings them sufficient business.

          If we go to in-road wireless charging then those using it should pay the cost. Sell bonds to pay for the infrastructure and charge enough over the cost of electricity to repay the bonds. Just as we do with toll highways and bridges.

  • moiph

    If this true one of the major stumbling blocks of EV’s has been eliminated. If you can charge your EV that quick it is a major breakthtrough.

  • Will E

    wireless
    is it (“charging while driving”) ?
    when there will be in the road charging, the EV is limitless.
    no more range limits, a 150Km range battery onboard will do.
    same for car, freight, truck, bus, the train can do, the car can do.

    • Matt

      There are several groups working on this, but it will be a “few” years before you see it on many roads. My guess is we see it in Europe, Japan, or China first. And likely that city will also restrict ICE within city limits, restriction might just be a large fee.

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