Charging On-the-Go

When we last reported on the subject of inductive wireless charging platforms for electric vehicles, the technology was still in the relatively early stages of development. But researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have made significant strides, bringing us closer than ever to electrified roadways capable of continuously charging electric vehicles on the go.

In a recent demonstration, a 20-kilowatt, single-converter charging system was tested on an electric Toyota RAV4 that was equipped with an additional 10-kilowatt hour battery. A transmitting plate in the ground sends energy to a receiving plate in the vehicle front end, which is then transferred to the battery via a controller. The system is capable of operating at up to 90 percent efficiency, and charges the battery three times as fast as traditional plug-in systems.

The next step will be to increase the power output to 50-kilowatts required to meet the needs of larger vehicles such as buses and trucks.

For information: Madhu Chinthavali, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831; phone: 865-946-1411; email:; Web site: