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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Oak Ridge Lab to develop dynamic wireless EV charging

South Carolina’s leading automotive research center and premier technology and aviation business park have partnered to study next-generation vehicle technology.

The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) and the S.C. Technology Aviation Center (SCTAC) have contracted with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to support a three-year program to develop and test wireless charging systems for electrical vehicles.

The research is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Wireless Power Transfer Charging (WPTC) of an electric vehicle does not require the use of cables or plugs and could substantially increase convenience — and possibly the number of opportunities — to charge an electric vehicle throughout the daily drive.

For instance, when wireless charging is applied in quasi-dynamic (stop-and-go) or dynamic (vehicle-in-motion) modes, the technology could lead to extended range and downsized batteries for electric vehicles. Such innovations are likely to greatly speed development of electric-powered passenger vehicles by addressing the current technology’s two biggest challenges: range and cost.

CU-ICAR research professor Joachim Taiber, who will lead the project for Clemson, said batteries in next-generation electric-powered vehicles can be made smaller and lighter, greatly increasing the efficiency of power transfer.

“This partnership can advance wireless-charging technology and spark growth in the marketplace because consumers will worry less about range-related issues,” Taiber said.

As part of the project, CU-ICAR and SCTAC researchers will validate the Oak Ridge-developed technology, optimize system design and develop the required communication networks for the wireless charging system.

Testing of the technology will take place at SCTAC and on the Oak Ridge main campus. SCTAC will be a unique, cutting-edge technology demonstration facility and airpark, which currently is home to 85 diverse companies with an international presence in advanced manufacturing, trade, technology and avionics.

“This joint initiative marks the next step in the progression of our strategic partnership with CU-ICAR and multiple private stakeholders in the development of a world-class test track infrastructure to support the rapidly emerging clean transportation ecosystem,” said Jody Bryson, SCTAC president and chief executive officer.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory charging system will be co-developed and manufactured by Wytheville, Va.-based Evatran. Other project partners include General Motors, Toyota, Duke Energy and Cisco. The value of the subcontract for Clemson University is $1.52 million.

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