Ever consider the possibility of using manhole covers as wireless electric car charging stations? Yeah, neither did I. But it’s happening. 🙂 Once you think about it, the idea does have an interesting sort of quality to it.
Hevo Power’s pilot program is currently scheduled to hit New York City sometime in early 2014 — with Washington Square Park serving as the center of the program during its testing phase.
The modified manhole covers — which will utilize resonance charging, a relatively fast and energy-efficient form of wireless charging — will charge an EV at around the same speed as a home charger will. So it occupies a rather separate niche than that of business-grade fast charging stations, and is well suited for inner-city delivery vans and the like.
“I was walking down the street, pondering how wireless charging could be deployed,” Hevo CEO and founder Jeremy McCool told WIRED in an interview. “I was standing at 116th and Broadway, and I was looking down and saw a manhole cover. And thought, that’s the ticket. There are no cords, no hazards. Everything can be underneath the manhole cover.”
Wired provides more info:
Hevo’s system comes in three parts: a power station that can either be bolted to the street or embedded in the pavement, a vehicle receiver that’s connected to the battery, and a smartphone app that lets drivers line up their vehicle with the station and keep tabs on charging.
In its current form, Hevo’s system is classed as a Level 2 charging station, with 220-volts and up to 10 kilowatts of energy being transmitted from the pad to the vehicle. McCool says the system can put out more than 10 kW, depending on the application. But for now, Hevo is focusing on Neighborhood Electric Vehicles with small footprints, low speeds, and minimal battery capacity — something that’s perfect for inner-city delivery vehicles.
In addition to the NYU program and working with E-Ride, Hevo is in talks with PepsiCo, Walgreens, and City Harvest to discuss the possibility of rolling out the system for a larger fleet of vehicles.
“It’s an iterative roll out strategy that starts with a fleet and builds on policy matching technology,” McCool stated. “This is the kind of ecosystem that needs to exist [for EVs].”