The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has launched a one-year demonstration of an -electric Zenith Motors van, modified to enable wireless charging. NREL is operating the vehicle in its employee shuttle fleet.
“Under NREL’s direction, the shuttle was modified to incorporate Momentum Dynamics’ wireless-charging system – an addition that is enhancing our vehicle electrification and grid integration research,” said Kevin Walkowicz, Manager of NREL’s Transportation Systems Engineering Group. “The vehicle required some modifications to accommodate the Momentum Dynamics system. We also worked with Momentum Dynamics to modify and adapt their charging system to work with the vehicle.”
The demonstration is designed to give researchers a better understanding of how to intelligently manage electrical loads from vehicles, using charge management strategies, wireless charging and associated grid-integration controls.
“Wireless charging could potentially simplify the entire charging process for drivers,” Walkowicz said. “With in-road wireless charging, for example, you could potentially charge a vehicle en route at every stop sign, charging much more frequently than you would if you had to physically park a vehicle and plug it in to charge. Wireless charging provides better, more flexible, and more convenient charging opportunities to intelligently manage vehicle loads.”
“This technology could have significant ramifications on electric vehicle battery-size requirements as well,” Walkowicz added. “We might be able to show that you can significantly reduce your battery size with this technology, without reducing the vehicle’s electric range.”
“We have been working with our internal and external partners for years, looking at electrifying NREL’s transportation system,” said NREL Intelligent Campus Project Leader Lissa Myers. “Assessing wireless charging capabilities on campus allows us to gauge the reliability and performance of this new technology before making a long-term financial commitment. The idea is to utilize the campus as a research instrument – extending and leveraging research activities in a real-world setting.”