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Volvo Cars to Test Wireless EV Charging Over the Next Three Years in a Pilot Using Taxis in Sweden

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【Summary】Sweden’s Volvo Cars is integrating and testing a new wireless charging technology in a real world pilot together with selected partners, evaluating its potential use for future electric cars. Over a three-year period, a small fleet of fully electric Volvo XC40 Recharge SUVs will be used as taxis and charged wirelessly at charging stations in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Eric Walz    Mar 03, 2022 2:30 PM PT
Volvo Cars to Test Wireless EV Charging Over the Next Three Years in a Pilot Using Taxis in Sweden

One of the barriers to widespread electric vehicle adoption is access to convenient charging at home, work and on the road. Although new battery chemistries and higher voltage systems architectures of new EVs can greatly reduce charging times under 30 minutes, it still doesn't solve the problem of finding convenient charging. However, automakers like Volvo Cars are working on solutions that might help.

Sweden's Volvo Cars is integrating and testing a new wireless charging technology in a real world pilot together with selected partners, evaluating its potential use for future electric cars.

Over a three-year period, a small fleet of fully electric Volvo XC40 Recharge electric SUVs will be used as taxis by Cabonline, the largest taxi operator in the Nordic region. As part of the three year pilot, the electric Volvo SUVs will be charged wirelessly at stations in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The charging stations used in the test area provided by Momentum Dynamics, a U.S.-based company that's emerging as a leading provider of wireless electric charging systems. 

Momentum Dynamics developed a wireless solution that has two main parts, a vehicle and roadway subsystem. The vehicle side of the wireless charging system uses a receiver pad and an electronics module installed on the vehicle. 

High frequency AC electricity is generated by the embedded roadway charging pad and is converted to more powerful DC, which directly charges the vehicle's battery while its parked over top of it.

The charging starts automatically when a compatible vehicle parks over the charging pad, which allows drivers to conveniently charge without having to get out of their car to plug in. 

However, parking  in the precise spot in real world parking can sometimes be tricky, so Volvo Cars will use its 360-degree camera system in the XC40 vehicles as a parking aid. 

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The Volvo XC40 EVs park over an embedded charging pad in the road surface for wireless charging.

For the fully-electric XC40 Recharge SUV, the wireless charging current is more than 40 kW, making the charging speeds around four times faster than a wired 11 kW AC charger and almost as fast as a wired 50 kW DC fast charger, according to Volvo. The wireless charging also works in the rain when the pavement is wet.

The wireless charging test is one of many projects outlined within the strategic initiative Gothenburg's "Green City Zone", where new technologies are being tested for both vehicles and infrastructure with the aim of achieving emission-free transportation by 2030. 

The Green City Zone is helping to accelerate the development of new technologies and services in the areas of electrification, shared mobility, autonomous driving, connectivity and safety.

"Gothenburg Green City Zone lets us try exciting new technologies in a real environment and evaluate them over time for a potential future broader introduction," said Mats Moberg, head of Research and Development at Volvo Cars. "Testing new charging technologies together with selected partners is a good way to evaluate alternative charging options for our future cars."

The Volvo XC40 SUVs will be utilized for more than 12 hours each day and drive 100,000 km (62,000 miles) per year, so the pilot will also be the first durability test to ensure that the wireless charging technology is ready for commercial deployment.

Other partners involved in the wireless charging project include the company's own Swedish retailers Volvo Bil and Volvo Car Sörred, Swedish energy company Vattenfall and its charging network InCharge, the city energy company Göteborg Energi, and Business Region Gothenburg, a municipal economic development agency owned by the City of Gothenburg.

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