How will EVs be charged in the future?

Jon Lawson

For some vehicle operators, using a conventional wall-mounted charger is not ideal, so other options are under development.

Momentum Dynamics and Eurovia UK are teaming up to examine the use of wireless stations using interoperable charging pads in the UK. These could be placed where cables are not suited or in locations where quick top-up charging is a useful feature, such as taxi ranks. The Momentum Dynamics system provides energy to vehicles from 25-450kW. It can be used on all types of vehicles, from cars and buses to drayage haulers and trucks. The system is modular in design and is scalable, and is unaffected by rain, ice or snow.

Yogesh Patel, Eurovia UK's Process and Improvement Director said, “From our work with many Highway Authorities up and down the UK, we understand the need to develop and deliver real solutions to the climate challenge. The Momentum Dynamic solution is one we think will make an immediate difference - providing wireless charging in a cost-efficient, time-efficient and visually appealing way. As we plan for the long-term adoption of electric vehicles, we need to ensure we develop infrastructure that adds value to our communities without additional clutter on our streets. We were inspired with Momentum's work on wireless taxis with Jaguar Land Rover in Oslo and we see wireless charging as one of the solutions we need to explore to achieve net zero in the UK.”

What other EV charging solutions are out there already?

It’s not only charging from below that works, charging from above can too. It’s not a new idea of course, some railcars have drawn power like this for decades. 

Harrogate in the north of England has installed pantographs at the bus station so the vehicles can take a little charge as passengers get on and off. On arrival Wi-Fi triggers the pantograph to start work. Operators are claiming it means no extra trips are required to the depot for charging. Routes can be up to 45 minutes in duration. 

There’s a similar system that has seen successful industrial use. In Boliden’s Aitik mine in Sweden there is 700m of electric trolley line supplying power to Cat dumper trucks. When the vehicle is in the most demanding part of its route it’s electrified via the pantograph. In this application, there is a 10% gradient on the ramp out of the pit, and when on the trolley the truck saves up to 40 litres of diesel fuel per kilometre of trolley line. Fuel costs are cut by 90% when it’s hooked up.

It’s faster too – Cat reports speed-on-grade increases as much as 100% versus the diesel-only mode, so up to 28kph fully loaded. When not needed, the pantograph has a quick-drop feature to allow the vehicle’s normal height to be restored.

Jonas RanggĂ„rd, a programme manager at Boliden said, “Availability has been high despite the arctic conditions, and we’ve had good support from Caterpillar and all other partners involved. There are few projects that can show both environmental and productivity improvements of this magnitude. This is why Boliden has decided to expand the trolley infrastructure in Aitik and equip its entire 795F AC truck fleet with trolley assist systems.”

• Read more about industrial vehicle power alternatives here.


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