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Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification (WAVE)

image credit: WAVEipt.com
John Benson's picture
Senior Consultant Microgrid Labs

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Microgrid Labs, Inc. Senior Consultant: 2014 to Present Developed product plans, conceptual and preliminary designs for projects, performed industry surveys and...

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  • Oct 7, 2021
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The title of this paper is the name of an en-route wireless electric vehicle charging technology, and a company that makes it. It is really designed for medium to heavy electric vehicles, mostly buses, but also some trucks.

This paper is a review of WAVE Technology, where it is applicable, and how it works.

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 7, 2021

"Wireless charging technology is almost ready for the big stage."

John, didn't Nikola Tesla make a similar prediction for inductive power transfer around the turn of the century (the one before last)?

The GM EV1 came out with inductive charging just about when belief in global warming was beginning to gain traction, and it made sense. But the question always comes down to, "How much energy do we have to waste for the sake of convenience?" In 1997, the answer might have been, "Whatever it takes!".

Can we still afford to waste 10% of the substantial quantity of energy it takes to charge a city bus (and increase carbon emissions by 10%) so we don't have to hire an attendant to plug them in?

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Oct 7, 2021

Hi Bob:

I've had those concerns too, but I found the text below in an early article (see section 4).

"...with efficiency greater than 90%. Since then, WAVE has doubled the power of its system to 50 kW, while maintaining a similar efficiency level (for comparison, a typical wired connection might achieve efficiency of 92-95%).

Given the need that buses have for this, assuming the above I believe they can stand the hit for busses and perhaps other medium-to-heavy EVs.

I would guess that they use specialized power electronic to up the AC frequency into the low kHz range, which would increase the efficiency. I couldn't find anything on this, and WAVE is pretty tight-lipped about their IP.

On the other hand, I don't think inductive charging is viable for light EVs, except (perhaps) for a very few small niches. 

-John

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 7, 2021

It seems like an interesting technology, but I always wonder if this is trying to solve a bigger problem that isn't really there in terms of impeding the actual deployment of more electric vehicles. Would this really make a difference in adoption? 

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Oct 7, 2021

Hi Matt:

I think it will help with busses for the reasons described in the paper. It may also work for specific medium / heavy truck applications, but probably not the general market.

-John

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Oct 8, 2021

I agree. How hard is it to plugin. Well I find a lot of people and companies don't remember or what to both plugging in. I group here locally have some Chevy VOLT series hybrids. The people they were assigned to for a year each never plugged them in. They didn't want to both . So the Volts ran in gas mode for a year.  I think they also were reimbursed for any gas they bought but not for the Electricity they used at home or on the road. 

   So maybe the wireless public power systems are needed for this type of issue. I guess they would need meters in the cars or other vehicles showing how much power they took from the wireless system. 

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Oct 11, 2021

One additional comment, Jim. Tesla's Megacharger is the only charger that I know that has been specifically designed for the largest trucks (Class 8). I have heard that it needs to be liquid-cooled due to resistive heating. They also operate at a very high DC voltage. Thus I would guess they are dangerous enough to need some serious training to use. 

On the other hand I would hope that all of the public chargers used for light EVs are pretty idiot-proof and reasonably safe.

When I worked for companies and used my own car, I was reimbursed on a mileage basis, but someone with a company car, uses a credit-card to refuel them, and this is where the card will not work so well in reimbursing someone's utility bill.

-John

-John

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Oct 12, 2021

John, the Super Chargers are Mega Chargers are very safe and a similar design. The Mega just uses 4 of the Super Charge ports all at the same time.

    All of the port have 2 extra pins. These have to have the vehicle shown in place and ready before any AC  power is sent to the plug. It has proven very safe. 

John Benson's picture
John Benson on Oct 13, 2021

Hi Jim:

You could be right. I know that Tesla is currently using multiple superchargers to charge their Semi prototypes. Also what I assume to be the final charger design is being installed in a Frito-Lay facility in Fresno (?) in large numbers, and this customer will receive early production Semis. I would guess these will be delivered sometime next year. 

-John

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