ORNL demonstrates bi-directional wireless charging on UPS delivery van

Researchers at the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) recently demonstrated a 20-kilowatt bi-directional wireless charging system installed on a UPS medium-duty, plug-in hybrid electric delivery truck.

In the demo, the system transferred power at more than 92% efficiency between the truck and a charging pad across an 11-inch air gap, using two electromagnetic coupling coils.

The system incorporates ORNL’s custom electromagnetic coil design, control, system and wide-bandgap power conversion system. The team tested the system using grid and battery emulators before installing it in the vehicle.

The system’s bi-directional design supports use of the vehicle’s batteries for energy storage in a V2G application. ORNL says its bidirectional technology is fully compliant with grid power quality standards. Bi-directional charging capability would allow fleet owners to manage on-site generation such as solar power. “Scaling the technology to a fleet of 50 trucks gives you megawatt-scale energy storage,” said team leader Omer Onar.

ORNL has been working on wireless charging for some time. In 2016, researchers demonstrated a 20 kW wireless charging system on a light-duty passenger vehicle. In 2018, they created a 120 kW system that operated over a 6-inch air gap. The latest version of the system represents a further refinement. “There’s no off-the-shelf solution that can deliver 20 kilowatts across an 11-inch air gap with these efficiencies,” Onar said.

Source: ORNL

  • EVman88

    cool. How heavy is the transformer part that is on the actual truck. Systems like this use to weigh around 600 to 1200 extra pounds for each vehicle.

  • Stuart McColl

    Hocus Pocus again from the ORNL … they have never once installed anything operational in the field. Be wary of this lab as everything they demonstrate is always “in the lab” in doors and never ever in operation prototype or otherwise. How can a laboratory like this spend so much money and deliver so little ? Waste of money and waste of time if they can’ demonstrate in the wild.

    • Kelly Farr

      Oh man, your so smart, u should be CEO of ups.lmao.
      There r reasons large companies like ups r investing here. For their new electric fleets, so they can charge or fuel up while they r parked overnight without the use of labor. Dumbasses like u should stay off the internet until you have something positive to contribute to the world

      • Stuart McColl

        I’m not exactly a “dumbass” … I’ve looked into this technology in detail and hired an engineer to design a similar wireless charging device for a car. I charge my cell phone wirelessly every night. I’m one of the few who has indeed developed and deployed a handsfree charge in the field. I have a hands free charger that charges my Nissan Leaf every day of the week … I don’t plug in. I’ve invested several years and tens of thousands of dollars personally in this kind of technology. I’ve personally visited onsite the wireless bus charging installation in Wenatchee, WA, which is a failure. This is indeed a complicated problem that has problems both in technology and in installation and implementation. It’s not just headline … and the ORNL has never successfully installed any charger like this in the field anywhere that has run for any length of time … that is a sad fact. For millions of $s … as a taxpayer … I think we deserve more … like … something that actually works outside of a laboratory … if it even works in the laboratory.