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U.K. firm testing wireless car charging technology [Video]

As electric and plug-in gas-electric cars begin to gain in popularity, more convenient methods of charging are beginning to emerge.

As early adopters are likely finding out, either remembering to or simply taking the extra time to plug-in their electric vehicles during busy schedules or after a long day can be a bit of a chore - something a firm in the United Kingdom hopes to eliminate someday.

With plans to demo wireless car charging technology at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show in September, Neil Butcher of HaloIPT, a British company, recently spoke with Reuters and explained the potential of the technology they are currently testing.

(More after video)


The basic gist of the technology is that electric vehicles can be fitted with a special electromagnetic conduction charging plate on their underside, along with some interactive hardware inside the vehicle, which can then interact with special charging plates located on the ground when a vehicle is parked over them.

As Butcher explains, all a driver needs to do is simply align the car over the plate and the rest happens automatically, with the driver notified of a successful hook-up via basic light indicators inside the car. That's it. Drivers can then walk away to return later and drive off without having to unplug their cars.

Aside from the fact that it offers the advantage of not having to hassle with and/or remember to plug-in a vehicle (and subsequently unplug the vehicle), there is also potential for reduced unsightly chargers - particularly in public settings.

Long-term, Butcher envisions the ability to build a conductive strip directly into roads, theoretically allowing infinite range without ever having to stop and charge the vehicle. Obviously something like that will require massive infrastructure changes and substantial cost, but assuming electrically powered vehicles are still viable in five, 10 or 15 years, it may be the long-term solution for nations - or at least communities - with the funding to make it happen.

Neil Butcher drives his wireless car to his Birmingham office. Recharging most electric cars requires a bulky cable to be plugged into a specially designed socket. But with wireless charging Butcher doesn't even need to leave his vehicle. He just parks over a rubber mat linked to a nearby charging post. A plate beneath his car automatically picks up charge by electromagnetic induction.

References
1.'Charging electric cars...' view