These parking space EV chargers sound like a great idea - but what modifications (at what cost) are required for the EV cars to utilize them? We need some standardization or a lot of drivers will spend a lot of money betting on various technologies - and then discovering that a competitor proved to be the "winner".
I have always been quite mitigated when reading about wireless charging devices. The more power you send, the higher is the energy density of your RF waves; inducing stronger possible hazardous effects on people's health. I am not specially reluctant to RF transmissions and I do not fear for my life when using my cell phone; but I still am curious about how this technology will be designed in order to be completely safe for the people walking next to it.
I'm intrigued to learn more details about this, after seeing the Fulton Innovations demo a few years ago at CES, in which they had a modified Tesla Roadster above a wireless charging mat. To achieve efficiencies comparable to plug-in charging, the separation between the charging mat and the secondary coil on the car was limited to just a few inches, and even to transfer power across a gap that large required the generation of an extremely strong magnetic field.
The electronics are practical and cost-effective enough, but as you suggested, the infrastructure & cost of the electricity make one question the economics of embedding these charging mats into parking spots on city streets.
Still, I believe that if EVs are ever to become mainstream, wireless charging will need to become the practical and preferred method of charging, whether at home or at a charging station. It's not just a convenience issue -- I think the average person will be somewhat nervous about handling cables that carry the high voltages & high currents needed for rapid charging. Of course, the need for rapid charging goes without saying. Nobody is going to wait around for an hour or two at a charging station to get a "fill up."
Where does the power come from? The more densely available these charging stations are, which they have to be if this is going to be a credible solution, the less likely it is that these vague and unquantified ideas of solar panels or windmills will be plausible. And while wireless charging is certainly more convenient, if anything, it makes the charging process less efficient than wired.
Moving our private, public, and industrial use vehicles takes a very substantial portion of our overall energy needs. If battery-powered EVs are to scale up to a significant portion of vehicles, I don't see how these questions can be ignored.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.