Utah State University Approves Wireless Charging Electric Vehicle Test Track


Utah State University has reportedly approved the installation of an on-campus test track that can charge electric vehicles wirelessly while in motion.

As the Associated Press reports (via Washington Times):

“The USU Board of Trustees approved the deal…the next stop for the proposal is the Utah state Board of Regents.”

The test track will accommodate standard passenger cars all the way on up to large buses.

Per the Associated Press:

“The plan calls for Woodbury Corporation of Utah and USU to build a 4,800-square-foot facility and an oval-shaped vehicle test track at the interdisciplinary USU Innovation Campus research center.”

The University hopes to begin the self-funded project this fall.  There’s no deadline set for completion as of yet.

Source: Washington Times

Categories: Charging, General

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30 Comments on "Utah State University Approves Wireless Charging Electric Vehicle Test Track"

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It looks like they are trying to find a way to make you pay for using your car, just like gas for the ICE! Tesla will soon have a 500 mile car and most certainly as time goes by this will increase. It is very likely that Tesla will provide a wireless charging system too. The question is who will pay for the on the move on the road charging system? Who will pay for installing it etc.? If I have a 500 mile range why would I recharge it while I am on the road? I ask you how often do you drive 500 miles a day without planning it?

Transport for goods or people is all about moving mass at velocity.
That is much easier and more efficient if you are not carrying 600kgs or so of batteries around, which in turn needs beefed up suspension and so on, so the weight is one heck of a lot more than it would be if you could cut down the battery weight.

There is also of course the cost of the battery itself, which has to be offset against the cost of electrifying the highway.

So you would hope to end up with cars with a 10kwh or so battery pack, enough for running around as far as the electric highway, and to save the 140kwh or so extra needed for a 500 mile BEV.

Even after transmission losses that would be a massively more energy efficient way of moving things around than using a huge battery pack.

The reckon they can get the extra energy losses down to 2% or so:

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

This would be a game-changer IMO: dedicated bus/EV lanes with wireless charging installed. Norway should be doing this.

I doubt there is any commercially viable solution for them to buy except maybe the South Korean OLEV option. It would be interesting to know how much that would cost.

Anyway, in Sweden there will be 4 commercial tests of electrified roads built during 2015. Two bus lines with inductive charging in Stockholm (or rather Södertälje) and Gothenburg, one conductive road with an electrified rail milled down into the asphalt from Arlanda airport to a distribution center in the nearest city and a road between Gävle and Storvik (40-ish km) with overhead wires reached by a pantograph by truck or bus.

And having teams in the different project from Scania, Volvo, Bombardier, Siemens, ABB and a number of other companies and universities.

Here is a video of tests of Oak Ridge’s similar system:

Note that the charging coils are in groups, which holds down costs both of transformers and so on and the cost of digging all the road up.

My link is dead now, but in an article at Tech Review Oak Ridge put the cost at $1 million a mile.

If that works out I ran the number and it would be very affordable, over, say, 20 years for the major highways, obviously with only one lane each way initially.

The nice thing is that although a system designed to provide enough power for a car to cruise would not do the same for a truck, perhaps the truck could pick up from more than one unit at the same time, and in any case it sure would help the truck by providing a good part of its power.

Note also the heavy use of capacitors to smooth load.

One thing I always hear about in-road charging is that it would be way too expensive to repave ALL of our roads to install charging. However, if those could charge at a relatively high rate, then you could put short sections of these in the highway at intervals. That would nicely complement short range EVs such as the Leaf. Those don’t generally require much charging in the city, but are prohibitively inconvenient to take on highway trips, even if a charging infrastructure exists. Short sections of in-road charging would work very nicely.

Of course, once large batteries become cheap enough, the need for these is obviated. Teslas are already there, except for the price. Come on 2017!

It will be really, really tough to get battery costs below $100kwh.

So a 500 mile battery pack might still cost $15k, plus all the weighty components to carry that much weight.

In transport, the lighter the better, so inductive on the move charging is simply inherently more efficient.

Building the infrastructure would not be cheap, but neither would building big battery packs for every car on the road.

Some of the BEV folk who think that present ranges are OK must have really weak bladders!

I drove for 4 hours the other day, and could easily have driven another hour straight.

At highway speeds that would take one heck of a battery.

I usually cruise at 80mph, so that night be around 400 miles at a far greater rate of consumption than the EPA range of the Tesla S at 265 miles is calculated on.

Around 150kwh or more is about the level at which you would not have to compromise your driving style because of the battery limitations.

That is a big pack.

You live in England, right? And you are saying that you drive for 4 hours at 80 mph? What exactly are you doing, driving around in circles? It is a small island country!

I guess your love of fuel cells has now caused you to adopt the ‘Cars must be able to go 500 miles or they are useless’ view. That is just silly in view of the fact that some 95% of the time, people drive less than 100 miles a day.

For those rare long trips? Well, the supercharger network works damn good. Yeah, you need to charge up for less than an hour every 265 miles or so . . . big deal. Think of all the time you saved during the rest of your year when you just plugged in at home in 5 seconds and never spent a minute driving to, filling up, or paying at as gas station.

And even if that is so intolerable then you can just rent a gas car, use a ZIPcar, take a train, take an airplane, borrow a gas car, drive a PHEV.

You seem to be somewhat unfamiliar with the geography of the UK, and that it is now connected, by road, to the rest of Europe.

Plenty of people need to drive more than a few miles, especially those on business.
Some people have work to do, which involves extensive travel.

Because it suits some, does not mean that it will work for everyone else.

Perhaps you should learn that others know their own affairs best, and should stop trying so officiously to direct what they should do and want.

BTW, I never indicated that was my own personal situation, or that the restriction would be onerous to me personally.

However unlike yourself I understand that others are differently placed, and that the notion that the present range of electric vehicles should content everyone is one only impertinent busybodies would entertain.

BTW I used to travel once a week from York to London, which google maps tells us is 209 miles, drive around London to suppliers all day with no time to spare, then drive back again.

Your powers of arithmetic are defective as well as your common sense if you think that present ranges and charging times of electric cars should do for everyone.

They know their own business, you don’t.

I didn’t notice it was you, Spec, until after I had posted.

Just the same the substance of what I had to say, if not perhaps the tone, stands.

There is plenty of room even in the UK let alone in Europe for road warriors to have a long, long day without the opportunity to fool around looking for superchargers, and in London a half mile out of your way in rush hour is way too far, or the inclination to brook delay.

My once a week trip was rare compared to what many do every or most days.

BEV electric cars just do not have the range nor the charging speeds to suit everyone, even in the UK.

There are already about a half dozen bus lines worldwide that are experimenting with inductive charging.

The way it works is that when the bus is stopped to load passengers at a regular bus stop, the inductive charger, buried under the pavement, automatically turns on and
recharges the battery while the passengers are loading.

This eliminates the need for a huge battery.

‘Battery-powered buses that do not require frequent stops at charging depots might seem a maybe-someday proposition. But Conductix-Wampfler, a wireless-charging engineering company based in Weil am Rhein, Germany, claims the bus of the future is fully operational on the streets of Turin and Genoa, Italy, and has been for 10 years.’


Great stuff, DaveMart, thank you.

The big difference is to be able to charge at speed.
Inductive charging while the vehicle stands still is no problem and has been used in different places comercially.
But an overhead conductive charger beats it by installation price, running cost and simplicity.

Inductive charging at speed have I only seen done in real traffic in South Korea with their OLEV system.

Yeah, but it is encouraging to know that the Italians have been doing this for years without heaps of dead bodies laying in the streets due to stray electromagnetic radiation.

And what they have accumulated years of experience in is pretty much all it takes for many urban areas to have public transport free from diesel fumes.

Moving on from there to charging in motion is a bonus and will open up major new opportunities for cars etc.

Buses we can already do, if we want to.

The US can’t find the political consensus to fund road and bridge repair across the United States almost requiring an SUV to get around in some cities.

We will have a 100% nationwide fleet of hydrogen powered fuel cell flying cars before we have a nationwide network of wireless charging highways and/or roads.

Tesla CTO JB Straubel claims one miler per second recharging is within 7-10 years. That is 300 miles in five minutes.

And Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he will be surprised if battery pack cost are not at or below $100 per kWh within 10 years. Elon has a habit of proving the confederacy of naysayers wrong.

I believe I said ‘it would be tough to get the cost below $100kwh’ so there does not seem to be much disagreement there with St Elon.

Hardly surprising as that may be the level at which you start to run into the materials representing a very high proportion of costs, although that may change given very different chemistry.

Maybe the US can no longer build substantial infrastructure, which is a shame but not terribly relevant elsewhere, as the Chinese or instance if Oak Ridge is correct and this comes in at anything like $1 million/mile most certainly could and could roll this out throughout China within around 10 years or so for major highways.

Since that is a fraction of the cost of motorways per lane it would not represent undue difficulties for Europe either.

Personally I have more faith in your country than you have, and think that enough retain something of the Seabees ‘Can do’ mentality to roll out the infrastructure if that should turn out to be the optimum solution.

‘Can’t do’ is very fashionable though.

Let’s cut the comedy.

All the world’s fastest trains are either Mag-Lev solenoid propelled by electromagnetism or are more standard electrics like the French TGV Grande Vitesse. The French trains have actual electric traction motors driving the wheels.

I have ridden the French TGV train from Paris to Nice. Telephone poles and scenery go by very fast.

The fastest and best trains in the world are either electric or electromagnetic.

Why have train companies all over the world decided in favor of electric trains ?

Electric trains are more efficient per mile.

Even our so-called diesel freight trains are really diesel-electric series hybrids.

While diesel fuel runs the on-board low speed diesel engine only produces electricity for the electric traction motors that actually drive the train wheels.

The diesel motor on board any so-called diesel electric locomotive does not in any way drive the wheels of the train. It just runs the generator to makes electricity for the electric traction motors that do all the actual work.

Once again, electric traction motors are the thinsg that actually propel these so-called “diesel” locomotives down the tracks.

Inductive charging is interesting for stationary systems but for on the move charging i would prefer the tire dielectric coupling system because you only need 2 metal sheets embeded in the road instead of a succession of coils. What you do is actually create a connection by using an alternating current flowing though capacitors. Here is a link:


Interesting stuff.
However from the links:

‘”Less than 20 percent of the transmitted power is dissipated in the circuit,” said Ohira at that time. With enough power the system could run typical passenger cars, he added.

To make their present technology useful, the electric power needs to be increased by 100 times. But, moving ahead, the group said that they are up to the task of meeting the project’s challenges.’

Inductive/resonant charging is a heck of a lot closer to the power they need than that, and loses a lot less than the 20% here.

You would also need to rip up the whole of the road, at lest in strips to lay it, which is expensive.

The coils would be placed in groups and only need relatively small areas of road to to dug up, which is a lot cheaper.

The way i see it, the wireless could be seen as a virtual range extender. Start with a full battery AND charge at a minimal rate while driving. Could in theory extend my Volt’s range extensively, and i’m ready! I’ve got Plugless!
Of course, new software would be needed to allow charging and moving at the same time but all the needed hardware is already installed on my car.
How cool is that?

Another possibility that can be interesting is energy sharing between cars. If you think about it ev cars on the road are all at different charge levels. This means that if your battery is low the one of the car next to you is perhaps almost full. If that car is also close to its destination it is actually moving unnecessary energy while you just happen to be in need for it. Now lets imagine a second that you don’t have inductive charging between your car and the ground but between your car and the car in front of you. You charge while moving and he makes money while charging you. That is a win win situation. You can make way longer trips with a smaller battery of say 200 miles and some people might actually own a living playing energy refuelling tanker with their car. What it would take is a communication protocol and an horizontal inductive charger able to transfer power between cars that would be in electronically controlled distance while transferring energy. So something like about one meter according to the latest radar controlled group driving tests. Of course before you would group drive for charging a… Read more »

I’ve been commenting on this, and why I liked the bus-charge that DaveMart linked – obviously going Against 10kW sizing, but ultimately more convenient (to me at least), is simple inductive-charging parking spaces. Cost-per-space within the horror-show that is store-parking and Interstate Rest Stops should be low-per-installation, and charging-whenever-stopping-Wherever-stopping could work for a high percentage of travel.
I admit no knowledge of current(heheh) limitations regarding delivered watts via charge-park-time (like the Italian Buses), I haven’t been able to learn what is a typical BEV-miles-induced-per-minutes-of-charging using this system, as Voltage confuses me on this subject.
Thanks for any pointers and information.

For stationary charging for cars they have hit 3.3kw and are working on 6.6kw

I don’t have the figures for buses but of course a high rate of flow is a lot easier to engineer in a bigger vehicle as the collector can be bigger, or you can simply use more than one.

Whatever may be the case in America with relatively uncrowded cities allowing the installation of street furniture to charge cars without garages, that is not going to happen in Europe or the Far East so that electrification for everyone can only occur using chargers under the road surfaces.

Open Google Earth and go to ‘Wick Road, Bristol, England’ and use street view to see what I mean.
It is just around the corner from me, and is not untypical of UK cities, and there is simply nowhere to put charging posts for the countless vehicles parked bumper to bumper along the narrow road, with narrow pedestrian pavements to match.

Although I don’t have the figures for flow rates for stationary charging of buses, here is how it works:

‘The buses will charge when power transmitted from a primary coil buried in the road is picked up by a secondary coil on the bus. 10 minutes parked over a coil will replenish two thirds of the energy consumed by the bus’s route. The primary coils will be placed at three points on the bus route, and the buses will charge in the time scheduled for driver breaks at the end of the route.’


So the flow rate is ‘Good enough’.

with no way to track discussions here, I doubt you’ll see this, but Thank You