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Volvo Testing New Wireless Charging Technology

In collaboration with chosen partners, Volvo Cars are integrating and testing a new wireless charging technology within a live metropolitan setting to determine the future potential for the adoption of electric vehicles.

Amie-Lynn Mitchell

Content Creator

For the next three years, a small fleet of completely electric Volvo XC40 Recharge cars will be used as Taxis by Cabonline. Cabonline is the Nordic region's largest taxi operator, and these electric cabs will be wirelessly charged at stations placed around Gothenburg, Sweden. This wireless charging test is one of several projects outlined in the Gothenburg Green City Zone strategic plan, which uses regions of the city as testbeds for sustainable technology.
“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. Testing new charging technologies together with selected partners is a good way to evaluate alternative charging options for our future cars,” said Mats Moberg, Head of Research and Development at Volvo Cars.

What is Wireless Car Charging?

Momentum Dynamics, a prominent wireless electric charging solutions producer, has provided the charging stations that will be used in the test. When a compatible vehicle parks over a charging pad buried in the roadway, charging begins automatically, allowing drivers to charge without getting out of their vehicle.
The charging station transmits energy via the charging pad, which a receiver device detects within the automobile. Volvo Cars will use their 360-degree video system to easily line up the car with the charging station. The wireless charging power for the fully electric XC40 Recharge vehicles will be more than 40 kW, making charging speeds four times quicker than a wired 11 kW AC charger and nearly as fast as a wired 50 kW DC fast charger.
The Volvo vehicles will be driven for more than 12 hours per day and 100,000 kilometres per year - which makes this the first durability test of completely electric Volvo automobiles in a commercial usage situation.

Environmentally Friendly Plan of Action

After the announcement that Volvo plans to only produce electric vehicles by the year 2030, the popularity of Volvo and its electric vehicle line-up has grown. In fact, sales of their electric cars have spiked close to 65 percent. Vehicles that require charging made up more than 25 percent of their 2021 sales. 
For areas in South Africa, the XC40 was released and also quickly became popular. In fact, it was believed that more than 25 percent of the car sales generated were electric vehicles. The vehicle boasts a maximum distance of 418 km and takes less than one hour to reach an 80% charge.
According to South African Volvo executives, the electric vehicles were all sold within a week and more than 25 are currently set aside for future buyers. Luckily, another shipment is planned for the near future.

Decreasing the Stress of Range Limitation and Enhancing Longevity

With many new areas being included for wireless car charging development, there is likely to be more interest in wireless testing technology. Increased interest may decrease the stress of range limitation. 
In just six months, the amount of interest in EV technology has grown substantially. In fact, the future technology has now become wireless car charging, even though the current technology involves PHEV and BEV. Throughout South African areas, there is a high amount of PHEV use and a great benefit is the ability to drive short distances on just the battery, while longer distances utilize the regular gasoline engine.

Looking Towards the Future

Several more automakers have begun to take notice of wireless car charging in recent years. Models like the 530e from BMW were recognized in 2020 as being the most favoured car by several publications. However, the vehicle has not been able to make headway as the technology and the costs have shown to be significant, and many of the standards seem to continue to leave something to be desired.
According to SAE, EV standards have a long history dating back to 2007. At that time, efficiency was being improved upon and eventually, the point was reached that the technology was able to achieve great efficiency in its grid-to-battery ratio. When an EV is set to charge, drivers should feel comfortable; with newer standards being achieved, an EV owner will have more peace of mind.
Although many things are still unclear about the long-term technology, the continued use of the trials will assist with continued understanding. In fact, it is believed that the all-around experience with electric vehicles will only continue to increase.