Wireless Charging — Get On The Bus

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Originally published by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Researchers: Madhu Sudhan Chinthavali, Group Leader, & Steven L CampbellRafal P WojdaClayton T Hickey

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers demonstrated their wireless charging technology on an autonomous electric vehicle for the first time in a project with Local Motors.

From left, ORNL’s Madhu Chinthavali and Steven Campbell with Local Motors’ Johnny Scotello and Seth Schofill demonstrated the Olli autonomous bus, which is equipped with the lab’s wireless charging technology. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

The charging system developed at ORNL was installed on Local Motors’ autonomous shuttle, the Olli. The architecture includes both wireless and wired charging, so the bus can connect to either DC or AC power, respectively. The team demonstrated power transferring from a grid interface to the vehicle’s battery across a 6-inch air gap at approximately 96% efficiency.

ORNL researchers installed and demonstrated their wireless charging technology for the first time on an autonomous vehicle — the Local Motors Olli shuttle bus. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy Images by Oak Ridge National Laboratory

An equipped EV charges hands free, safely and efficiently, while parked over a charging pad. The technology has also been demonstrated on a light-duty SUV and a medium-duty delivery truck.

“Our wireless charging technology has matured enough that we can design and install equipment for a custom environment such as on the Olli, to give vehicle manufacturers the flexibility they need to accelerate toward a decarbonized, electrified transportation future,” ORNL’s Madhu Chinthavali said.


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