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How the World's Fastest Electric Car Is Pushing Wireless Charging Tech

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the amping-up dept.

Transportation 49

An anonymous reader writes With the first ever season of Formula E revving up in China next month, it's clear there's more to electric cars than Tesla. But the race cars hitting the track in Beijing don't have anything on the speed of Drayson Racing Technology's Lola B12 69/EV, which holds the record for the world's fastest lightweight electric car, and which uses the kind of power technologies that could one day have applications off the track too—like charging your phone wirelessly.

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Nobody (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47782263)

Will ever need more than 640K.

- Bill Gates

LOL (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 2 months ago | (#47782341)

>which uses the kind of power technologies that could one day have applications off the track too—like charging your phone wirelessly.

So the only things that concenrs you is that it might charge your phone wireleslly in the future. That Outer Limits eposide where eveyone is connected to the net is pretty much here add it 1984 and could make for a good flick I can priate on pirate bay when it comes out.

Re:LOL (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 2 months ago | (#47782365)

How about if could charge your car wireleslly a bit at a time at each stop light.

Re:LOL (2)

dkf (304284) | about 2 months ago | (#47782607)

How about if could charge your car wireleslly a bit at a time at each stop light.

If you think that's viable, you're spending too much of your life waiting at stop lights.

Re:LOL (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 2 months ago | (#47784497)

How about if could charge your car wireleslly a bit at a time at each stop light.

If you think that's viable, you're spending too much of your life waiting at stop lights.

Well, we certainly know a few cities that you don't live in.

Re:LOL (5, Informative)

CeasedCaring (1527717) | about 2 months ago | (#47782961)

London has installed wireless charging points at bus stops for its new hybrid bus fleet.

Re: LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47799845)

Hopefully, they add more after each stop to help accelerate the bus.

Re:LOL (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47782417)

LOL indeed. You aren't gonna beat the White Zombie [youtube.com] ...

m\od uP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47782395)

"Secret" 3G Intel Chip Gives Snoops Backdoor PC Ac (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47782419)

"Secret" 3G Intel Chip Gives Snoops Backdoor PC Access

vPro processors allow remote access even when computer is turned off

http://www.infowars.com/91497/ [infowars.com]

###

NSA reportedly using radio waves to snoop on offline computers worldwide

"The Times reported that the technology, used by the agency for several years, relies on radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted covertly into the computers."

"A senior U.S. official, who compared the effort to submarine warfare, told the Times most of the implants are intended only for surveillance and can warn the U.S. about incoming cyberattacks.

"That is what the submarines do all the time," the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the newspaper. "They track the adversary submarines." In cyberspace, he said, the U.S. tries "to silently track the adversaries while theyâ(TM)re trying to silently track you.""

http://www.foxnews.com/politic... [foxnews.com]

Quite warm beneath the car, right? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47782473)

Let's do the numbers: if you want this 30 kWh battery charged in one hour (you're in a race, remember?) you'll have to supply 30 kW. At an efficiency of 80% (TFA -- I know, I know) you're looking at losses of 30 * (1/.8 -1) kW = 30 * .25 kW = 7.5 kW. That's a friggin' garage heater!

I'd still go with a thick copper plug, really.

Re: Quite warm beneath the car, right? (3, Interesting)

MMC Monster (602931) | about 2 months ago | (#47782901)

Is replacing the batteries illegal during a race? If not, why not just do that? Tesla previewed fast battery exchange a year ago as a model for fueling stations.

Re: Quite warm beneath the car, right? (3, Interesting)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47783499)

That's what I was thinking too. Just set up pit stops and the design the cars so that the battery can be popped out and replaced just like the tires. Maybe have pit stops like oil change garages with dug-outs that the car can drive over, with the guys under the car pulling and replacing the battery at the same time the guy up top is replacing the tires. Easy peasy.

Re: Quite warm beneath the car, right? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 months ago | (#47784085)

I doubt dug-outs as that would be a huge safety issue. Both for the drivers that might drive a tire over one (on accident), and the people inside when there's a fire. And there will be a fire; sooner or later, it will happen!

Re: Quite warm beneath the car, right? (1)

TBoon (1381891) | about 2 months ago | (#47786827)

They could probably make some kind of door/lid that only opens once the car is in place. (This might add a few seconds to the pit stop, so maybe some other solution could be found?) If the dug-out isn't a mere dug-out but more like a basement underneath the entire pit area there would be other escape routes for people below in case of a fire.

Re: Quite warm beneath the car, right? (1)

Barsteward (969998) | about 2 months ago | (#47789655)

"And there will be a fire; sooner or later, it will happen!" then it will definitely be more like F1, they used to fill up with fuel during a race and had fires as a result

Re: Quite warm beneath the car, right? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 months ago | (#47790909)

You're dealing with a vehicle that -by nature- stores and expends a great deal of energy. Shit happens, and fire is a result of not being able to control that energy in the event of a malfunction. It's going to happen, human error is inevitable.

Re: Quite warm beneath the car, right? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 months ago | (#47784537)

I suspect chargers are cheaper than battery packs. Also, swapping a pack invites mechanical failure, while a wired charger has a lesser chance, and a wireless charger none at all.

Re: Quite warm beneath the car, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47786391)

So a wireless charger has no chance of failure? You are living in a fantasy world.

Re:Quite warm beneath the car, right? (3, Interesting)

geogob (569250) | about 2 months ago | (#47782937)

Quite warm, yes! It's already quite warm under may car, where the battery is, when charging it with 22 kW over a good ol' copper thick copper wire. At this charging rate, the cooling fans and the car's AC automatically jump in to cool the cells.
Although I never tried it, I could also charge at 44 kW... that's sure going to produce a lot of heat.

Now I imagine doing so at 80% transfer efficiency. I am convinced heat would be a major issue; It's not yet a technical issue, but definitely a comfort issue. Furthermore, paying now about 0.28€/kWh, I wouldn't be happy to lose 20% of it to melt the snow on the road. That's only good for Quebec, where I used to pay under 0.04$/kWh.

Re:Quite warm beneath the car, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47784631)

Why do you assume 80% efficiency? This is tuned magnetic resonance, with efficiencies above 90%. Better than some AC chargers!

Re:Quite warm beneath the car, right? (1)

markass530 (870112) | about 2 months ago | (#47783015)

Cool, can't wait to hear how your thick copper plug idea works on your electric super car

Re:Quite warm beneath the car, right? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47784123)

Everyone is talking about climate change, energy efficiency, etc. And the future is supposed to be 30% energy losses everywhere just because people are too lazy to connect fucking cables?

This race is doomed.

Not worth it. (4, Insightful)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 2 months ago | (#47782689)

For $$$ amount of electricity lost buy using this method of charging a car would pay for a holiday after a decade. (25Kwh * 20%loss * 10c * 365days * 10years = $1825)

Why is plugging in a charger difficult? With my phone I'd say plug-in is more convenient because I don't have to worry about dedicating a flat surface for charging, the phone get plugged in and chucked wherever at whatever angle.

Re:Not worth it. (2)

geogob (569250) | about 2 months ago | (#47782977)

It's not a question of difficulty, but of convenience. Imagine you could charge at every red light you stop.

I drive an electrical car every day to work. The charging time for one leg from home to work is typically 15 minutes. Driving time is about 40 minutes. In those 30 minutes. I cross about 20 intersections with traffic lights; about 10 of those are major intersections, where I often wait 30 seconds to 1 minute. So assuming my luck is bad, I get to wait 10 minutes at red lights on my way to work.

With a charging system embedded in the road only at major intersection, I would already recharge most my day's use, mitigating the need to charge full every 2 days or so. As range is still the biggest limitation of electrical cars, I believe this would be an important step forward.

Re:Not worth it. (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 months ago | (#47783125)

It's not a question of difficulty, but of convenience. Imagine you could charge at every red light you stop.

Seems to me that if theres a push to "green everything" and several places are having power supply issues, tacking on yet another 25% loss is a pretty piss poor idea.

Re:Not worth it. (2)

geogob (569250) | about 2 months ago | (#47783189)

Although I agree that the 25% loss is not acceptable, I can't rally to your argumentation based on "several place are having power supply issues". What if I live in an area that doesn't have issues at all?

I've heard the same argumentation before for water. Fresh water is short in server place, so we need to save water said the politic. Followed large (and expensive) initiatives to save water - even in region where fresh water was not an issue. Followed that in those region, the water saving was so efficient, that the consumption dropped below critical threshold for the infrastructure. To maintain it, it now needs to be flushed out on regular basis, which in turn lead to a higher overall water need as before the initiatives. I'm not saying that this is case for electricity, but it just illustrate how this kind of argumentation can be a two-edged sword.

Re:Not worth it. (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47784209)

Followed that in those region, the water saving was so efficient, that the consumption dropped below critical threshold for the infrastructure. To maintain it, it now needs to be flushed out on regular basis, which in turn lead to a higher overall water need as before the initiatives.

People need to have access to that kind of information so that they can react accordingly, individually. And not buried in twelve sub-levels of the municipal website either. Something easy to access that loads instantly, such as a 100KB website. All you need is the municipality logo (small PNG), maybe a low-details map of the area using the ressources and an easy-to-read status of the system (let's say red, yellow, green, like traffic lights) with a one-sentence description about what each color means.

You could do that for water, electricity, etc.

Re:Not worth it. (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 2 months ago | (#47783517)

If the point of electrical cars is to SAVE energy and reduce emmissions (as proponents claim), then a tech that wastes 25% of said energy (and the coal that produces it) just for a little convenience sort of defeats the purpose. May as well drive a fuel-efficient hybrid.

These cars are SUPPOSED to save the planet, remember? They're not supposed to be just be status symbols for smug assholes.

Re:Not worth it. (1)

geogob (569250) | about 2 months ago | (#47783657)

No one is suggesting we should install right away an inefficient system. What is suggested is that such a system would be useful and should be developed further to make it both practical, affordable and efficient. At its current stage, the technology is obviously not mature.

An what's with the frustration about electrical cars? Do you really believe the concept doesn't go beyond the aspiration of sum assholes or of Tesla motors?

Anyway, you might be surprised to learn that electrical cars are more effective and save energy when compared to comparable internal-combustion engine cars. An they would still be more efficient and energy saving, even with 25% addition loss, which doesn't imply that this 25% loss is in anyway acceptable.

Re:Not worth it. (4, Insightful)

markass530 (870112) | about 2 months ago | (#47783017)

Are you planning on using this electric super car as your daily driver?

Re:Not worth it. (2)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 months ago | (#47783071)

Why is plugging in a charger difficult?

Because any of a million things can happen to render a microUSB port useless... And the failure of that tiny part makes your $1,000 smartphone similarly useless and worthless.

I'd go for something like a magnetic surface-mount charging cord, if I got to make all the R&D decisions. But since I don't, an induction coil with some power loss is better than having to fiddle with fragile microUSB jacks all the time.

Re:Not worth it. (2)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 2 months ago | (#47783217)

I have come a bit too close to breaking a microUSB by plugin a usb cable the wrong way round, but the new USB3 reversible port fixes that problem. To be fair, the gadget I had trouble with had a poor surface mount that made it difficult to see which way round to plug the lead... still a problem for partially sighted regardless though.

Re:Not worth it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47783549)

I agree, I break Micro USB cords all the time because of my use case. The magnetic Qi wireless chargers exist; the one on the Google Play store holds onto the phone with magnets (if your phone supports it, such as the Nexus 5). I installed one in my car as a magnetic charging mount, it works really well and turns heads. I later installed another one vertically on my wall in my bedroom, so at night I "hang up" my smart phone. I never fumble in the darkness anymore for a fallen USB cord.

Re:Not worth it. (1)

brianwski (2401184) | about 2 months ago | (#47784393)

My toothbrush has charged wirelessly for 15 years. My MacBook Air has a magnetic recharging cable, which is really nice (SOOOO much better than the micro USB on my phone). I previously had a phone that had both magnetic connector charging AND inductive charging in a tiny phone (HP Veer) proving it is possible and practical. I'm utterly baffled by why these two options aren't preferred everywhere. We have existence proofs, everybody that uses them loves them, what is the hold up?

Re:Not worth it. (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 months ago | (#47783829)

25 kWh per day? What are you, a courier? That's like 100 miles a day on average (including weekends), over 3x the US average.

Re:Not worth it. (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 2 months ago | (#47783951)

Alter the inputs if you want but it is still very wasteful. If electric cars took off and started using half of the countries electricity, would we really want 10% of all power to be used just to support people who are too lazy to plug their car in?

Re:Not worth it. (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 months ago | (#47785193)

Electric cars wouldn't use half the country's electricity, passenger vehicles' share of total energy consumption is much smaller than that. But I don't disagree with you that it's bad to waste power. Still, for a potential EV consumer whose turned off from EVs because they're lazy, if the choice is between "waste 20% more electricity" and "keep driving a gasoline car", the wireless EV is still the much better option.

Re:Not worth it. (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 2 months ago | (#47785573)

A robot to plug the car in would be the better option!

Our Three Cars (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47783937)

Our 2012 Nissan Leaf was purchased used from a rental fleet for $15,600 with 8,100 miles. After the down payment and at 2.4%, the monthly payments are ~ $245 per month. Electricity costs about $50 / month when the car "Trickle" charges at home nightly at 120V / 12A. Added together, we are looking at $295 per month for the first 60 months, followed by $50 per month after that. If the battery wears out before eight years, Nissan will replace it for free. After that, Nissan will offer a replacement battery for $5000 or less, and prices will continue to drop thanks to Tesla and Panasonic. There is virtually no maintenance besides rotating tires and filling windshield washer fluid.

Our 2004 SUV used to go through $60 per week in gasoline to make the same daily trip to work. Even though the SUV is paid for, the monthly cost is approximately ((52*$60) / 12) $260 not including repairs, oil changes, etc. We keep it for long trips, but it costs much more to operate than the Leaf.

Our Porsche has a really nice top end speed, so I'm told. It shows its true power between 3000 and 4000 RPM. However, from 0-30 MPH, where it counts in city driving, it can't come close to the accelleration of the Leaf. I have taken both up to 80 MPH, and the difference is in decibels.

Every person that I have had test drive the Leaf is blown away. My wife had a list of cars that she wanted to test drive, but after driving the Leaf she said, "I don't need to test drive anything else." In every respect except for range, the Leaf is a superior vehicle to anything that I have ever driven. Then again, the 2015 Leaf already has improved the range.

My advice, don't sell your ICE car, just garage it for the long trips. Use the Leaf for the daily commute.

Race tracks like slot car tracks (2)

swb (14022) | about 2 months ago | (#47783141)

Why couldn't they make a race track similar to a slot car track, although without the slot?

Just stop it with the 'zero emissons' claims (2, Insightful)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 2 months ago | (#47783489)

One of the articles cited says the car "produces zero emissions". Perhaps we can coin a new phrase for electric cars: "zero direct emissions".

Most people reading this implicitly understand that if an electric car is charged using electricity from a coal- or gas-fired power plant it really doesn't have zero emissions. But a very large percentage of the public simply doesn't get that, and thinks of electric cars as an immediate way to address the greenhouse gas problem.

Sure, electric cars probably, (depending on a host of factors), result in fewer emissions per mile driven. But if every car in North America magically became an electric vehicle overnight, we'd need a huge amount of electricity to charge them all, and the energy would have to come from fossil fuel, (not zero emissions), or nuclear, (huge political problem) - never mind the insane costs of the required infrastructure buildout in either scenario. The general public needs more information to help them understand these things, not more "zero emissions" spin.

Re:Just stop it with the 'zero emissons' claims (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 2 months ago | (#47783897)

You act like there's no research papers on this subject. There have been tons, and the conclusions in each case are the same:

1) CO2 emissions would decline even on the US's current grid (which is, I should add, getting cleaner every year, while the amount of emissions associated with oil production keep rising)

2) On a generation basis, every region in the US has enough space capacity for a full switchover of the passenger fleet today, without any new plant construction, except the Pacific Northwest. Most charging is done at night when most power plants lie idle, but the Pacific Northwest is an exception because their heavy use of hydro means time of use isn't important, only net consumption.

3) The only thing that there's not enough of at present is simply local distribution capacity, to peoples' homes.

Of course, that's for a complete, instantaneous switchover, which is of course an impossiblity. Your average car is driven for about two decades before it goes to scrap, only a small fraction rotate out of service every year. And that's assuming that everyone bought EVs as replacement, which if course is an impossiblity because even if everyone was suddenly sold on the concept of EVs it'd take a decade or more to ramp up production to that level. And of course everyone is not suddenly sold on the concept of EVs. You're looking at maybe a 30-40 year transition time period here. If power companies can't keep up with a trend that's stretched out over the scale of several decades, they deserve to fail.

Re:Just stop it with the 'zero emissons' claims (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 2 months ago | (#47784369)

Thanks for the informative reply! I'll take that info into account during future rants. However, I'd still prefer there to be a greater awareness on the part of Joe Public that an electric car isn't magically an emission-free vehicle.

Re:Just stop it with the 'zero emissons' claims (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 months ago | (#47784809)

One of the articles cited says the car "produces zero emissions". Perhaps we can coin a new phrase for electric cars: "zero direct emissions".

I usually refer to it as "remote emissions". But "zero direct emissions" probably sounds better from a marketing standpoint.

Re:Just stop it with the 'zero emissons' claims (1)

Ksevio (865461) | about 2 months ago | (#47786455)

But that's pointless and misleading. I don't say my kitchen blender has emissions or my cellphone.

Gasoline has emissions because when you burn it, it releases CO2 (and others). There are also emissions when the gasoline is produced at the refinery.

Electric vehicles produce no emissions when the electricity is used. In some cases, generating electricity does produce emissions.

The advantage is large powerplants can control emissions much easier than a car and even better - they can be replaced by a cleaner source. Cars usually produce more emissions as they get less efficient with age.

Obviously we're not going to replace everyone's car overnight so we have time to improve our infrastructure.

Wireless Charging = The Problem (1)

fygment (444210) | about 2 months ago | (#47783701)

Think about wireless charging: convert energy to RF, transmit, convert RF to energy. Each conversion is not perfect. The transmission loses energy density according to a power law. Just that simple transfer is inefficient. And for what reason? Convenience. Nothing more.

Our impact on the planet is what it is. There are a lot of humans. But we are so staggeringly wasterful it is obscene. We net tens of thousands of fish in one catch, to get the thousand we really want. We run air conditioners and pool circulation pumps 24/7 for months, for literally hours of comfort or pleasure. We leave cars running unoccupied for tens of minutes rather than feel the minutes of discomfort of a too cold (or hot) vehicle. All for convenience.

Fact is, we don't need to geo-engineer our planet (in virtual ignorance of potential side effects). We just have to begin using our resources as efficiently as possible.

20kW is not fast enough (3, Informative)

lupine (100665) | about 2 months ago | (#47784795)

Tesla superchargers charge at 120kW with a wired connection. 20kW is not fast enough to quickly charge an electric vehicle that has enough batteries to provide adequate range. Even the Fast DC chademo chargers for the leaf can charge at 50kW.

Fast wireless charging will never happen because wasting 10% of your power as heat under the vehicle will cause things to melt at high power rates.

Back in the day... (1)

Andrzej Lipski (3783893) | about 2 months ago | (#47794127)

You know there was a time that most car races were about promoting innovation in automotive technology. Seems we got "off track" ... lol. But I'm glad that there is innovation somewhere in the automotive industry.
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