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New York City To Get Manhole Covers That Wirelessly Charge Electric Vehicles

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the sending-power-through-the-ether dept.

Transportation 112

Lucas123 writes "A new project between NYU and start-up HEVO Power will disguise wireless charging stations in manhole covers. The wireless charging stations are aimed at providing fleets of delivery vehicles with power in parking spaces around the city. Next year, Toyota plans to test a wireless charging Prius in Japan, Europe. And, U.S. Auto electronics giant Delphi is developing technology for electric vehicles that could be used industrywide. The charging stations could be embedded in asphalt or pads that lay on garage floors. Wireless charging, however, still has many obstacles to overcome, including the time it takes to recharge a vehicle, cost to deploy the technology and power loss during electrical transfer."

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ConEd has had that for a while (4, Funny)

disposable60 (735022) | about 10 months ago | (#45192603)

I recall news stories from over a decade ago lamenting the fact that ConEd manhole covers were being used to charge dogs. Inadvertently, and sadly fatally, but this technology has been around for a while.

Re:ConEd has had that for a while (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45193733)

Wait until you see what happens to the first drunk guy to piss on a manhole cover...

Re:ConEd has had that for a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45195061)

Are you seriously suggesting a entire team of engineers, all of whom are probably several dozen IQ points ahead of you, didn't make it waterproof?

Re:ConEd has had that for a while (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 10 months ago | (#45198267)

My colleague came in to work one day and told me the funniest story. He was standing on the tube subway platform the previous night in London, and some guy down at the end of the platform started to take a leak on the tracks. Maybe funniest wasn't the best choice of words. Fortunately for the guy taking a leak, someone with CCTV started screaming into the PA system to stop, and the guy on the platform did, in time. Be careful and think first guys.

Re:ConEd has had that for a while (1)

sharknado (3217097) | about 10 months ago | (#45197801)

I recall news stories from over a decade ago lamenting the fact that ConEd manhole covers were being used to charge dogs. Inadvertently, and sadly fatally, but this technology has been around for a while.

This is possibly the funniest post I have ever read on /.

Now THAT is E/M radiation (4, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45192615)

Will the nutjobs afraid of wireless routers be able to survive walking down the sidewalk in NYC now?

Re:Now THAT is E/M radiation (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 10 months ago | (#45192851)

I would hope that the wireless charging manhole covers would not be on the sidewalks, otherwise a large number of pedestrians will be peeved, not just the tinfoil hat crowd.

Re:Now THAT is E/M radiation (2)

danomac (1032160) | about 10 months ago | (#45193265)

Eh, I think the drivers will be more peeved. Low on battery? Just stop in the middle of the street on top of a manhole cover. Traffic hilarity ensues.

Re:Now THAT is E/M radiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45193843)

I think the idea is because so much of the traffic in NYC is stop and go that a car can stop over the cover and get at least some charge to make up for the stop while sitting at the light.

Re:Now THAT is E/M radiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45197965)

According to the summary the idea is to place the fake manhole covers in parking spaces.

Re:Now THAT is E/M radiation (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 10 months ago | (#45198543)

Stopping in the middle of the street in NYC is largely impossible, as the precondition - moving in the street in NYC - is almost never met.

Re:Now THAT is E/M radiation (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 10 months ago | (#45194669)

I would hope that the wireless charging manhole covers would not be on the sidewalks, otherwise a large number of pedestrians will be peeved, not just the tinfoil hat crowd.

Well, you could always go *over* the vehicle on the sidewalk, you know...

Re:Now THAT is E/M radiation (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 10 months ago | (#45194929)

Well, you could always go *over* the vehicle on the sidewalk, you know...

I'd say "go around", but that's probably just me. The important question is how many pedestrians did the electric vehicles go over to get to the charging manholes on the sidewalk?

Re:Now THAT is E/M radiation (2)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#45192993)

Well, the article is fairly vague on the exact details of the technology but it did say:

HEVO's manhole covers work via electromagnetic resonance, which makes a magnetic connection between a charging coil to a car equipped with a wireless charging coil.

Without some NFC communications built in, I don't see how they monetize that, or even control the on/off condition of the system.
If they simply leave them on all the time, simply driving over one of these could induce eddy currents in any passing vehicle, (like passing a wire through any magnetic field), which might prove uprising on a rainy day, not to mention induction in re-rod built into sidewalks, lamp poles, underground wiring, the fillings in your teeth, etc. There is also significant loss [wikipedia.org] in any transformer running without a load on the secondary side.

So they would probably have to be switched, and therefore OFF unless a known subscriber vehicle was parked on it.
That would be no consolation to those who insist they can "feel" wireless routers, (who invariably fail to accurately do so in double blind tests).

Re:Now THAT is E/M radiation (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 10 months ago | (#45195825)

If they actually make it so it can charge an EV in a reasonable amount of time then you won't have to be a nutjob to be afraid of it.

Tax dollars at work? (2, Interesting)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 10 months ago | (#45192619)

So who pays for this? Is it everyone or just those that own electric vehicles?

I have a diesel car and nobody is helping to pay for my fuel consumption.

Re:Tax dollars at work? (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 10 months ago | (#45192707)

It's New York City. Everyone pays, well, except for the well-connected political elite, anyway.

Re: Tax dollars at work? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45193167)

The poor pay taxes? I think not.

Re: Tax dollars at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45193471)

Then you need to keep thinking, because they certainly do.

Re: Tax dollars at work? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45193833)

State income taxes? .... Ummm no, they do not.

Re: Tax dollars at work? (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about 10 months ago | (#45197021)

Fail troll is FAIL. You keep moving those goalposts. They may not pay state sales taxes, but you said "The poor pay taxes?" in which you did not specify which type of taxes. But I don't need to spell this out for you. You know exactly what kind of taxes the poor pay. Go back under your bridge, there's no food here!

Re: Tax dollars at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45197897)

Conservatives never want to talk about anything but income taxes. Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, disability insurance taxes? You can't blame them for being ignorant of such taxes ... you have to have to earn your money from a real job to even know they exist, and the further over $110,000 per year you earn the lower those taxes are.

Re: Tax dollars at work? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 10 months ago | (#45198555)

New York has both state and city sales taxes. Sales taxes are generally regarded as regressive, so poor people definitely do pay tax there...

Re:Tax dollars at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45192803)

I drive an EV because it's better for the environment

You depend on a healthy environment, so this benefits you too

Re:Tax dollars at work? (2, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45192909)

I drive an EV because it's better for the environment

You depend on a healthy environment, so this benefits you too

Yes, but unfortunately all the environmental benefits are offset by the hot, noxious gas emanating from your ego-inflated sense of moral superiority.

Re:Tax dollars at work? (1)

6ULDV8 (226100) | about 10 months ago | (#45194961)

Time for a "smug alert"?

Tesla is installing free charging stations (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 10 months ago | (#45192969)

Every couple hundred miles along major freeways so customers can drive more than 200 miles a day. I suspected they will be affiliated with food venders, so drivers can take a break during the 30-60 minute charging period. These will be high capcity compared to the overnight chargers they may have at home. If long distance EVS catches on,then more companies & governments will install these.

Re:Tesla is installing free charging stations (1)

es330td (964170) | about 10 months ago | (#45193805)

Free = embedded in the cost of the Tesla vehicle. Air, wind and sunlight are free. Everything else has a cost built in someplace.

Re:Tesla is installing free charging stations (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about 10 months ago | (#45194695)

What they really need is a moving recharge station like a tanker plane refueling a fighter jet. Either that, or I see a Starbucks popping up at every charging station. This is all silly, though. by the time they get all the stations in, electric cars will be able to do 300 miles on a charge. Now what? Drive only 200 miles or get stuck in between the next two stations?

Re:Tax dollars at work? (1)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#45193039)

Your diesel car isn't being refueled simply by virtue of which parking spot you chose.
If it were, you'd be paying.

I suspect it will have to be done via a metering system triggered by NFC transducers on the vehicle.
Sort of like you ezpass, but located on the bottom of the vehicle.

Re:Tax dollars at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45193257)

So who pays for this? Is it everyone or just those that own electric vehicles?

I have a diesel car and nobody is helping to pay for my fuel consumption.

You're right. In order to save YOUR precious, precious tax dollars from the evils of paying for a society, every government agency, down to every administrative level, should instead switch to a system where they strictly itemize every femtowatt/hour of energy used, and tax them that way. It'll save you $5/month over the system proposed, and that's what's really important.

Of course, in order to maintain this system, they'll need to hire armies of bean counters at taxpayer expense to make sure the accounting system works. This goes for buying the hardware required to maintain all this data as well, which is more taxpayer expense. Then, of course, the tracking mechanism needs to go in place to make sure you're not lying and stealing taxpayer-funded electricity when you say you don't own an electric car and aren't using tax-funded city energy, so that'll be more taxpayer money. Plus, if you DO use it, you certainly don't want to be charged more taxes than EXACTLY what you're getting out of the system, so every car will need a city-approved transmitter that can negotiate with the charging mechanism and feed the data of your driving habits back to the accounting system mentioned before...

Re:Tax dollars at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45194157)

So you're advocating socializing fueling EVs?

Re:Tax dollars at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45194249)

To put it simply: yes.

Re:Tax dollars at work? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 10 months ago | (#45198571)

Have you ever tried breathing in a city like New York or London? If I lived in either, I'd be advocating socialised buying of EVs for anyone who wanted one...

Re:Tax dollars at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45193413)

I have a diesel car and nobody is helping to pay for my fuel consumption.

Doesn't the petrochemical industry receive billions of dollars in subsidies [wikipedia.org] annually? Hmm...I am pretty sure this is a net lower cost to you when you buy fuel.

Re:Tax dollars at work? (2)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#45193821)

No, they don't. (as your won link shows).

They collectively, get to write off 4 billion of taxes for foreign tax paid, depletion allowance, domestic manufacturing, all of which are tax breaks available to any industry. Depletion allowance can even be claimed by a Gravel Pit owner. The oil industry is Huge, and the total tax writeoff is only 4 billion.

That's less than the cost of one Navy DDG-51 destroyer.

Apple alone wrote off 1.1 billion all by itself.

  You don't get to call a general tax write off a subsidy. At least until you accept the fact that a the Standard Deduction that every tax payer gets to claim is a subsidy.

What did the oil companies pay in taxes: [forbes.com]

ExxonMobil in 2011 made $27.3 billion in cash payments for income taxes. Chevron paid $17 billion and ConocoPhillips $10.6 billion. And not only were these the highest amounts in absolute terms, when compared with the rest of the 25 most profitable U.S. companies, the trio also had the highest effective tax rates. Exxon’s tax rate was 42.9%, Chevron’s was 48.3% and Conoco’s was 41.5%. That’s even higher than the 35% U.S. federal statutory rate, which is already the highest tax rate among developed nations.

Just the top three alone paid about 55 billion in taxes. Add in the drillers, smaller oil companies, the pipelines, and you are talking serious money.

Note: About here is where someone invariably posts the War for Oil bullshit. But the US doesn't import any oil from Iraq or Afghanistan. The US is a Net Exporter [bloomberg.com] of oil and gas.

Re:Tax dollars at work? (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 10 months ago | (#45193647)

...aside from the soldiers that we send over when an oil supplying country looks wobbly, the externalized pollution that petroleum-burning engines make, etc. You're clueless.

Re:Tax dollars at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45197859)

"Whaaa! No fair. I don't want to pay anything to better society or the planet unless something's in it for me!"

I think that's the Libertarian mating call.

Your diesel fuel consumption isn't helping anybody. Electric vehicle drivers are helping themselves and anything/anyone that breathes air or lives on this planet.

Re:Tax dollars at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45197993)

So who pays for this? Is it everyone or just those that own electric vehicles?

I have a diesel car and nobody is helping to pay for my fuel consumption.

That is because your fuel 'consumption' causes emissions that causes notable health problems for someone who lives in the smog for 50 years.
The goal isn't to subsidize electric vehicles, no-one cares what fuel you use. The goal is to get rid of your vehicle, the thing people care about is the emissions.

There are also other benefits than just the health ones. All those resources spent on washing windows. Well, for people who lives where cars pass only on a weekly basis window washing is something that perhaps happens once a decade or so.

Re:Tax dollars at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45198029)

I have a diesel car and nobody is helping to pay for my fuel consumption.

How about those $4 billion in subsidizing that the oil companies are provided with annually to keep the fuel prize low?

OMG TEH MAGNETS (1, Funny)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 10 months ago | (#45192645)

They forgot to mention the potential issue with all those alternating magnetic fields everywhere. What happens when they start resonating? We could end up with a building pulled down like that old Tacoma bridge [youtube.com] example.

Re:OMG TEH MAGNETS (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45192759)

I almost took this post seriously. You're flying too low, man! You're about to crash into what people actually believe.

Re:OMG TEH MAGNETS (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45192915)

They forgot to mention the potential issue with all those alternating magnetic fields everywhere. What happens when they start resonating?

Then it's time to bust out the crowbar and ask yourself: WWGFD?

Recycling bonus (2)

bob_super (3391281) | about 10 months ago | (#45192665)

Cool, my Manhole cover recycling business will get a boost from all the extra tech I can resell!

What? If they don't want me to take them, why do they leave them lying on the ground?

Disguise? (4, Informative)

stillnotelf (1476907) | about 10 months ago | (#45192679)

I was really curious about the need to "disguise" the chargers as manhole covers - it's not like they'd be an eyesore, and they'll be "public enough" that they won't be secret, either. Unfortunately it was poetic licence in TFS, not in TFA...

Re:Disguise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45192729)

I just wonder how long it will be until someone parks a trailer there just to use the wireless charging for power for BitCoin mining. Hey, this is NYC, where people will sell your car if you park in a garage unless they run a risk of a visit to Riker's.

Re:Disguise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45192753)

This is NYC if it looks valuable it's gone buddy

Re:Disguise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45192835)

Sounds more like a cost issue, if you go under the existing manholes you can access the underground wires directly, and manhole covers are removable, so you should be able to install it without digging up the road, just have ConEd install a meter, plug your new manhole cover in, and drop it on the hole. Ultimately that means it greatly reduces installation costs.

Re:Disguise? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 10 months ago | (#45192995)

This is not a recharge while driving technology; it is a recharge while parked technology. The problem is that almost all existing manhole covers are not located where people park. They would need to be within a few feet of the pickup coil in the vehicle to be effective. The better the alignment the better the transfer.

Just like always. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45192737)

Ever since the early days, this place has had a sick fixation with man-holes.

Re:Just like always. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45192897)

Start a petition to have some holes renamed as woman-holes or queer-holes.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your friend (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 10 months ago | (#45192755)

Color me skeptical -- between the energy losses in electricity generation, transmission to the wireless charger, the wireless charging process, storage in the car's battery, and finally conversion to mechanical energy, it is hard to imagine this being a win in terms of overall energy efficiency or emissions reduction. If NYC had a big surplus of low-cost, zero-carbon energy sources, of course, this would make perfect sense. I suspect they'll instead end up burning more fossil fuels to charge the electric cars than they would to just drive equivalent diesel or internal-combustion vehicles.

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45192889)

Because that oil just magically turns into gasoline in your gas tank without all the associated costs and losses you just mentioned. Electricity wouldn't be cheaper if what you've said is true. Put that in your second law pipe and smoke it.

Oh and a diesel engine is an internal combustion engine. Car energy sources haven't been external combustion since the Stanley Steamer lost it's first race.

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45193311)

So are electic cars really better, manufacturing included? And does the even lower efficiency of this system change that ratio?

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 10 months ago | (#45193347)

The cost comparison between electric vehicles and fuel-burning vehicles is a lot more complicated [wikipedia.org] than "electricity is cheaper." Those costs are at least as influenced by fuel taxes and electricity-rate regulation as they are by the relative costs of energy production, distribution, and storage.

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 10 months ago | (#45193485)

Electricity wouldn't be cheaper if what you've said is true.

The difference is that the cost of coal is much lower than the cost of oil. Coal costs $58/ metric ton a barrel of oil costs about $100/bbl. Heat energy in coal is about 34GJ/ton or about $1.70/GJ. Heat energy in oil is about 6.34gJ/barrel or $15.77/GJ. In raw heat energy costs oil is 9 times as expensive as coal. You also burn a lot more coal and produce a lot more C02 when burning coal than when burning oil.

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 10 months ago | (#45195859)

I don't spill much gas when I fill my tank.

Now, for people who like to hold the nozzle a couple feet away from their car and aim it generally in the right direction, you've got a point.

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 10 months ago | (#45198305)

I don't spill much gas when I fill my tank.

From http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/evtech.shtml [fueleconomy.gov] :

Electric vehicles convert about 59–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels—conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 17–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.

So you may not lose anything on filling up, but it sounds like plenty of it gets wasted for nothing in other ways.

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about 10 months ago | (#45198705)

Electric vehicles convert about 59–62% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels—conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 17–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.

"From the grid" is the key flaw in your argument. In the electricity production line there are similar losses upstream before it even gets to the power outlet. In fact, if only 60% of the electricity taken by the car reaches the wheel, that is disgracefully inefficient - no doubt much of it due to the poor air connection between "manhole cover" and car.

Personally, I don't get this obsession with avoiding the need to plug in a charging lead. People have managed for years with fuel pumps. It seems someone was pipe-dreaming and said "wouldn't it be nice if ..." and the idea has got out of hand from that point. It is not the silver bullet for electric car adoption; in fact tying electric car adoption to solving contactless charging is putting an unnecessary obstacle in the way of their success.

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 10 months ago | (#45193315)

NYC had a big surplus of low-cost, zero-carbon energy sources

Um, NYC is primarily powered by the Niagra Falls.

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45193953)

Um, NYC is primarily powered by the Niagra Falls.

[citation needed]. Niagara Falls is a long way from NYC and doesn't generate that much power. Ravenswood Generating Station in Queens generates almost as much power as the Niagara Falls hydroelectric station. It burns natural gas and a variety of petroleum products, and is far from the only such power plant in NYC.

Furthermore, Indian Point (nuclear) generates ~30% of the electricity that NYC and Westchester County consume (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/nyregion/04indian.html?_r=0).

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (2)

holophrastic (221104) | about 10 months ago | (#45193971)

My grandfather, now 92 years old, has been screaming at his condo building for two decades now. They have a pool, and a sauna. It's an electric sauna. Because it takes time to warm up, people turn it on, go for a quick swim, and come back to it 15 minutes later when it's hot. In the end, the electric sauna runs electric current through a resistor for an hour to heat up and stay hot for the people inside. It winds up being something rediculous like 10 kWh for a 1 hour sauna, where just a few drops of liquid fuel would easily achieve the same levels of heat, at a tiny fraction of the cost.

The energy loss across the electrical grid is staggering when you look at it from cradle to grave. It winds up being close to or over 40%, and it's absurd.

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (1)

adolf (21054) | about 10 months ago | (#45195809)

The energy loss across the electrical grid is staggering

From the US Energy Information Administration [eia.gov] :

According to EIA data, national, annual electricity transmission and distribution losses average about 7% of the electricity that is transmitted in the United States.

Sounds pretty good to me.

(And please realize that liquid fuel doesn't happen for free, either. And that all electric heaters are damn near 100% efficient at converting electricity into heat.)

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (2)

holophrastic (221104) | about 10 months ago | (#45196025)

Many link me to those numbers. But they miss 90% of the cradle-to-grave. Think about before and after those measurements are taken. Think about repairing all of those lines after storms and damage.

We're not comparing grid-efficiency to fuel-efficiency. We're comparing grid-efficiency to nothing and fuel-efficiency to nothing. We'll then compare those final numbers.

The nice part about fuel like gasolene, is that the explosive force carries quite well into turning an axel. Most electric motors work through magnets. That's like working through a belt; there's a lot of slippage.

No, liquid fuel doesn't happen for free. Transport requires fuel. But that fuel is only spent while it's being transported. Liquid fuel sits still for reasonable periods of time at virtually 100% efficiency.

Look at electricity. See how business lights remain on at night. It's not for fun. It's not for safety. It's because if all lights turned on or off at the same time, the grid would choke. So in the end, lights stay on way longer than needed. That too is a big huge part of the waste. That's not in these numbers though. These numbers are purely end-to-end along the network. They don't take into account the accessorial needs of the network. Batteries lose charge just sitting still. Batteries lose electricity as they charge.

Liquid fuel can be transferred from tank to trunk to pump to car with effectively zero loss of fuel -- except for the few drops that you spilled onto the ground, and paid for anyway, all of the other transfer-loss simply gets gained again on the next use.

All I'm saying is that you need to look at it cradle-to-grave, end-to-end, start-to-finish. From a point where there is no electricity in existence to the point where your car moves that first micron. If you left your car in the garage overnight, it discharged 1%. There's your first 1%, and you haven't done anything yet. There's a small loss within the electric motor itself. There's a big loss when you charge the battery from the wall. Your wall has the 7% loss from the power plant that you mentioned. That 7% doesn't count the efforts to repair power lines when they break. Does it include charging the battery in the power plant? I doubt it, because most don't have any batteries. But that too will change. It'll need to change in order to support fleets of electric vehicles.

So for the electricity of the future to charge electric cars, we're in and out of batteries probably three times between the solar panel and the axel. That means six transfers. Then you have three transmissions -- to the plant, to the curb, to the garage. Then you have repair on all of those systems. See liquid fuel skips the garage step entirely, and the many curbs are replaced with the fewer pumps. So the number of transmissions drops precipitously.

Oh, I almost forgot. Yes electric heaters are near 100% to convert electricity into heat. But that doesn't mean it gets very hot very fast. Combustion, on the other hand, is the very definition of hot fast.

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about 10 months ago | (#45196105)

My grandfather, now 92 years old, has been screaming at his condo building for two decades now. They have a pool, and a sauna. It's an electric sauna. Because it takes time to warm up, people turn it on, go for a quick swim, and come back to it 15 minutes later when it's hot. In the end, the electric sauna runs electric current through a resistor for an hour to heat up and stay hot for the people inside. It winds up being something rediculous like 10 kWh for a 1 hour sauna, where just a few drops of liquid fuel would easily achieve the same levels of heat, at a tiny fraction of the cost.

The energy loss across the electrical grid is staggering when you look at it from cradle to grave. It winds up being close to or over 40%, and it's absurd.

Since we're supposed to blame Edison, maybe we should also blame your grandfather for not punching him in the nose when he had a chance?

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 10 months ago | (#45196299)

(: I'm not sure that the two were both alive and able to speak at the same time. I'm also not sure that saunas existed during that overlap. I do know that they were not in the same country.

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 10 months ago | (#45197941)

I see: making excuses for your ancestor not punching out Thomas Edison.

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 10 months ago | (#45198315)

My grandfather, now 92 years old, has been screaming at his condo building for two decades now.

Mine used to yell at clouds.

Re:The Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't your fri (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 10 months ago | (#45198283)

it is hard to imagine

So is relativity of simultaneity, but that doesn't automatically make it not true.

Waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45192763)

Wireless charging is hugely wasteful; even the best only get around 85% efficiency, with the rest radiating away into the air (is there any chance this would mess with nearby wifi/cell/etc coverage?). Plus, the stations themselves are more expensive to install and maintain than a simple power cord. Plus plus, I assume most electric cars would need to have a wireless charging unit strapped to the bottom, which I assume weighs more than a negligent amount and will waste even more electricity.

Is there a good reason to be, essentially, throwing this (public!) money away? Can people not take the 15 seconds it takes to put a physical plug in?

Or is this being done strictly to make electric cars "sexier?"

Re:Waste (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 10 months ago | (#45192817)

85% shit. I heard 10%.

Re:Waste (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 10 months ago | (#45193331)

Re your sig: "The petition you are trying to access has expired, because it failed to meet the signature threshold."

Re:Waste (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 10 months ago | (#45198321)

10% shit. I heard 85%.

Anecdote annihilation!

Re:Waste (1)

Medievalist (16032) | about 10 months ago | (#45192971)

Is there a good reason to be, essentially, throwing this (public!) money away?

They waste public money because there's no consequences for them. And if you object you'll just get called a Koch-funded teabagger who wants to shut down the government.

Can people not take the 15 seconds it takes to put a physical plug in?

Apparently not. At least, not the 1% whose corporate vehicles might actually gain value from this.

Or is this being done strictly to make electric cars "sexier?"

Um, if you think it's "sexier" not to plug in, you just might be doing it wrong.

Utterly impractical, at the first glance (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 10 months ago | (#45192771)

Whose money is backing these experiments?

Things that will never work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45192813)

This.

85% efficiency (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 10 months ago | (#45192843)

The article says 85% efficiency, which may be raised to 90%. 15% is a lot to give away.

What is needed is a simple mechanical design standard to 'plug in' the car that doesn't require extra steps for the driver. Like, when you drive into a car wash, you feel the wheels come to rest in a track. Use the weight of the car to raise a positive contact under one side and a negative on the other. The contacts drop when you back off. Something simple like that.

Re:85% efficiency (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 10 months ago | (#45193101)

Or the driver can get out and plug in the standardized cable. That method greatly simplifies the gear and uses the already existing plug standard. If you are going to plug in and you need to do it automatically you are just lazy.

Re:85% efficiency (2)

godrik (1287354) | about 10 months ago | (#45193319)

If we could do it with 99% efficiency then the cost of being lazy would be acceptable. But 15% seems like a lot. (And frankly, I am kind of doubting that you can actually get that much.) Essentially it means that the power is 15% more expensive (at least) just for the luxury of not plugin a cable. If I could not get out of my car but still get gas at a 15% surcharge, well, I'd get out of my car and pump my own gas...

Re:85% efficiency (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 10 months ago | (#45193553)

Correct, as people we are mostly lazy. Might as well re-start your thought process from there.

Re:85% efficiency (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45194347)

If you are going to plug in and you need to do it automatically you are just lazy.

Dude - lazy is the true name of progress.

If not for the inherent laziness of humans, there would be no such thing as automatic transmissions, power windows/locks, window defrosters, and pretty much ever other invention in the history of mankind.

Seriously - do you want to spend the majority of your waking hours hunting, gathering, and fleeing from predators? No?

Then quite whining, you lazy bastard.

Re:85% efficiency (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 10 months ago | (#45194299)

What is needed is a simple mechanical design standard to 'plug in' the car that doesn't require extra steps for the driver. Like, when you drive into a car wash, you feel the wheels come to rest in a track.

I was just thinking about a solution for that: A combination of self-parking mechanism and a magnetized connector (like the power cord on my '08 vintage MacBook) would take care of it.

Basically, any vehicle that's part of the system could pull up next to the spot, at which point the computer-assist would take over and park the vehicle so that the charging pads lined up. Once the vehicle shifts into park (or the key is removed), sensors would communicate with the charging system to release the magnetic lock on the pavement and engage the one on the vehicle. The charging port would then snap into it's connector on the floor of the automobile.

When leaving the space, have a trigger set so that when the key is turned to the ACC or ON position, the magnetic coupling switches polarity, dropping the charging port back into its cradle in the street below, and freeing the vehicle up for travel.

It's an idea anyway... and since I posted it online, I call prior art! CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0, bitches!

Re:85% efficiency (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 10 months ago | (#45194785)

Yeah, the hard part is making the infrastructure port extremely cheap and robust (if there is to be one retrofitted in every parking spot) and also not add too much cost to the car. Anything that requires lining things up to within a couple inches will require either a mechanical means (like driving into tracks) or precise maneuvering. If self-driving cars catch on, then precise maneuvering becomes an option.

Re:85% efficiency (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 10 months ago | (#45198325)

The article says 85% efficiency, which may be raised to 90%. 15% is a lot to give away.

And how efficient is a petrol engine?

Spoiler alert: not very [fueleconomy.gov] .

Location, Location, Location (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 10 months ago | (#45192873)

I guess manholes just happen to be located in those same places that rechargeable vehicles tend to park. And for those that aren't, we'll just move em!

Michael Bay! (3, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | about 10 months ago | (#45192883)

How much power will this add to manhole explosions? Will the explosions be triggered more often with live wires in the manholes (and the loose connectors that manholes would require)? Was Michael Bay involved in the design?

Re:Michael Bay! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45193343)

I've seen manhole explosions on Tosh.0. I've seen some stuff, man.

Why the hell not... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 10 months ago | (#45192977)

They already have ones that wirelessly charge people and their dogs.

http://www.examiner.com/article/new-yorkers-and-dogs-risk-electrocution-on-city-streets-how-to-be-safe [examiner.com]

How much do they charge? (1)

skine (1524819) | about 10 months ago | (#45193133)

And will they accept Visa?

My phone (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | about 10 months ago | (#45193681)

Will I be able to charge my phone for free?

Re:My phone (1)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#45193917)

Sure, just toss it under the truck.

You will be able to tell the proper location to position it, because there will be a boatload of smashed phones
down there from where owners didn't hang around to retrieve them before the truck pulled away,

Seriously, why not a robotic arm? (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 10 months ago | (#45193803)

You pull into the designated space, a robotic arm deploys from the pavement underneath and plugs you into the grid. You start your vehicle, the arm retracts. And of course you'd design the connection to easily detach if the vehicle suddenly peeled away. More efficient connection, less people freaking out about EM.

.

Re:Seriously, why not a robotic arm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45193905)

You start your vehicle, the arm retracts. And of course you'd design the connection to easily detach if the vehicle suddenly peeled away.

And you know they will. I cannot believe how many videos there are on YouTube of people driving away with the hose in the car or on the street with the nozzle in their car.

Re:Seriously, why not a robotic arm? (1)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#45193943)

You pull into the designated space, a robotic arm deploys from the pavement underneath and plugs you into the grid. You start your vehicle, the arm retracts. And of course you'd design the connection to easily detach if the vehicle suddenly peeled away. More efficient connection, less people freaking out about EM. .

But the first hapless Volkswagen that pulls into the space gets the robotic arm spot welded to the frame.
 

The future is coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45194027)

I can't wait to park for four hours over a regular manhole cover, fuming over the slow charge time. Stupid #$@%#$ machine!

Data Acquisition is Proabably the Real Motive (2)

twmcneil (942300) | about 10 months ago | (#45194607)

"Oh, and we'll have to bill you for charging your vehicle of course. Just sign here to authorize us to obtain your credentials wirelessly anytime your vehicle passes over a manhole cover."

Who needs old fashioned tracking devices that have to be surreptitiously installed under a vehicle? You just gave them permission to track you full time.

Famous last wordzzssst (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 10 months ago | (#45196055)

"Quick, let's hide down here..."

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