A35 Brebemi, in collaboration with Stellantis, is taking the first steps towards this vision with testing at the Arena del Futuro (Arena of the Future) circuit in Chiari, Italy.
The circuit is able to recharge a Fiat 500 whilst it travels at motorway speeds by using Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT) technology. DWPT isn’t a new concept though, this type of tech is a common feature on some of the latest mobile phone releases.
The circuit is able to recharge the Fiat 500 through a system of coils built beneath the track surface. These coils are able to transfer energy directly into the 500’s battery without the vehicle needing to stop. This means that the battery remains fully charged throughout the drive.
The type of technology being used at the Arena del Futuro should, in theory, be able to recharge any electric car battery that is fitted with a receiver which can transfer the energy from the coils to the vehicle’s electric motors.
As well as the obvious convenience, DWPT charging uses direct current (DC) which in itself offers its own extra benefits. Using a direct current improves charging efficiency by reducing the amount of power lost in the distribution process. It also uses aluminium cables that are easier to source than other metals and are thinner and easier to distribute.
A previous concern about wireless EV charging was that the magnetic field intensity could cause problems for drivers and passengers. Measurements taken at the test site showed that there was no impact whatsoever. All the cables and wires used for the charging were securely and safely kept beneath the road surface too.
The success of the testing in Italy proves that wireless charging could be a feasible way of charging electric vehicles, although building large-scale inductive roads could lead to logistical issues.
Despite this, the addition of DWPT road surfaces in select busy urban areas and car parks could be greatly beneficial in lowering range anxiety and increasing convenience and the uptake of EVs.