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HEVO Power Wants to Revolutionize Urban Design with Wireless EV Chargers

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【Summary】HEVO Power (stands for Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Optimization), a New York-based startup, wants to change the way people charge their EVs using wireless charging pods.

Original Michael Cheng    Nov 23, 2016 6:23 AM PT

For some people, driving an electric vehicle (EV) offers a futuristic glimpse of how smart cars will evolve in the coming years. However, this experience is immediately interrupted when the vessel needs to be charged. Like charging a traditional smartphone, individuals have to plug the car into a nearby public charging station or an outlet inside a residential garage.

HEVO Power (stands for Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Optimization), a New York-based startup, wants to change the way people charge their EVs. With hopes to match tech-savvy dashboards and semi-autonomous features found in today's smart cars, the company wants to extend that level of seamlessness to charging via wireless pods.

"Drivers forget to plug in all the time. Drivers will also back into kiosks damaging the units. There's vandalism and theft of the units themselves. And sometimes there's faulty connectors, and these can damage vehicles, with average repair costs of $14,000," explained HEVO Power co-founder Steven Monks.

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Preparing for an Autonomous Future

HEVO Power's units work like wireless charging systems for smartphones, but on a much larger scale. To activate the receiver, users simply approach the pod, which leverages electromagnetic resonance technology and looks like a harmless manhole cover. When the car is within 25 feet from the plate, the system automatically detects the vehicle. To start charging, individuals must trigger the service using a mobile app. When charging is complete, the owner is billed through payment information associated with the account. Jeremy McCool, a former Army captain and co-founder of HEVO Power, clarified that the startup is targeting "medium-duty delivery trucks and neighborhood EVs." 

For now, stations can be found around New York, along main roads, including FDR Drive, Canal Street, Barclay Street and the Brooklyn Bridge. Yes, these are all public roads – this is one of the major selling points of the wireless charging hub. Cities could install them next to buildings without disrupting the foundational design of the area, since all that is required is a discreet wireless plate (no charging beacons, solar panels or cords).

In case you were wondering, this is the same startup that teamed up with Google in 2015 to install "experimental chargers" in Mountain View, California (according to documents filed at the US Federal Communications Commission).

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Wireless Charging Stations Everywhere

McCool's vision for HEVO Power is huge. The Level 2 charging hubs, operating at 220 volts and up to 10 kilowatts of power, could be the answer to low battery capacity issues that are preventing fuel-dependent car owners from switching over to EVs. By increasing accessibility to charging facilities, users could take on a full day's worth of errands around the city with ease.

When electric autonomous vehicles hit mainstream markets, the whole charging process (using HEVO Power's wireless stations) will become fully automated. In the future, this could make ridesharing and car-sharing programs even more efficient.

"It's an iterative roll out strategy that starts with a fleet and builds on policy matching technology. This is the kind of ecosystem that needs to exist [for EVs]," said McCool.

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