Solutions to Popularize Electric Vehicles Being Lined Up

July 30, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

The Electric Vehicle concept is a boon for the planet striving to be green, but customer acceptance is not that high. People are still concerned about charging issues.

What if the battery runs out halfway through the journey? Renault and Formula 1 car designer Delta Motorsport is working on a solution with inductive charging technology.

We are talking about wireless charging. It’s basically the transfer of energy from an electrically wired pad on the ground to a matching pad under the car via an electromagnetic field. The car’s pad is wired to the car battery, which gets automatically charged whenever the vehicle is parked or driven over a pad on the ground.

“We can effectively get a car with unlimited range,” says Anthony Thomson, vice-president of business development at Qualcomm, the company behind the inductive-charging technology.

You can charge the EV even when it’s moving. These electric pads could be installed along the roads to charge cars while on the move. Trial demonstration of the technology will take place in London later this year.

This is a huge development in the EV space. For one, the focus of making cars that can drive longer on a single charge could shift to making vehicles with smaller, lighter and cheaper batteries that are recharged frequently.

Traditional car-rental companies, such as Europcar and Hertz, say a number of firms are hiring electric vehicles. Adopting EVs also help in meeting the long-term climate goals of theUK, so the government has stepped in, providing about £400m to fund plug-in car grants and other measures designed to promote uptake of the next generation of ultra-low-emission vehicle technologies.

This is great news, but professional buyers who run large fleets of company cars may not be as impressed. It’s not just the vehicle. It’s also running costs and set-up costs, explains Marie Jarrold, British Car Auctions’ fleet manager.

But fleet purchase is crucial, and corporations are key players. But the issue is that the drivers are not interested in the initiatives aimed merely at reducing a company’s fuel or taxi bill, or to cut carbon dioxide emissions from a company’s fleet.

So it is ultimately about satisfying the driver, who needs vehicles that do not compromise on comfort or prestige. It should also be a focus point for EV manufacturers.

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