'Dynamic charging' might let electric race cars juice up while moving


July 26, 2011

'Dynamic Charging' technology would see electric race cars (such as this Peugeot EX1, perhaps) receiving power while moving, from transmitters embedded in the track (Photo: Peugeot)

'Dynamic Charging' technology would see electric race cars (such as this Peugeot EX1, perhaps) receiving power while moving, from transmitters embedded in the track (Photo: Peugeot)

As some Gizmag readers will already know, the new technical regulations for Formula One racing state that cars must move under electrical power only when in the pit lanes. Eyebrow-raising though that may be, two companies are currently collaborating on technology that would see cars being powered by electric motors for the entire race. Instead of looking at ultra-powerful batteries or three-hour recharging pit stops, however, they're taking another approach - they propose that the cars could wirelessly receive power from transmitters embedded in the track.

Known as "Dynamic Charging," the system is being developed by inductive power transfer firm HaloIPT and Drayson Racing Technologies. HaloIPT has already created inductive charging systems for stationary passenger vehicles, in which the car's battery is charged while the car sits parked over an in-road power transmitter. In the racing version of the technology, the cars' batteries would be charged on the fly, from a series of such transmitters located in the asphalt around the track - a system that has also been proposed for passenger vehicles, by engineering company Ingenieurgesellschaft Auto und Verkehr.

The technology reportedly is tolerant of misalignments between battery and transmitter, and can "intelligently" distribute power evenly between a number of transmitters.

"Dynamic wireless charging will be a real game-changer, enabling zero emission electric vehicles to race over long periods without the need for heavy batteries," said Lord Paul Drayson, co-founder of Drayson Racing. "We're looking forward to putting this technology through its paces as it charges electric race cars at speeds of up to 200 mph."

Although it only managed a speed of 31 mph (50 kph), the experimental E-Quickie vehicle has already demonstrated that such technology has potential. Built by students at Germany's Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, last May the three-wheeled car completed 40 laps of a conductor track, from which it drew its power.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Electric cars will not be green until strip-mining coal ceases, and an improved method of toxen confinement is developed. I like a solar-powered producers gas/coking plant.


its about time they bring inductive dynamic charging to the race tracks

Waiel Jibrail

So, slot cars for grown-ups?

Christopher Porozny

Damn, no \"thumbs up\" button. ---slot cars comment.

Daryl Sonnier

If the whole intent of F1 is to green itself, why would F1 choose inefficient inductive energy transfer to power the cars? What\'s the point of replacing internal combustion with another inefficient source of power? And how much energy and resources will it take to retrofit all the tracks with this scheme? Is that is a green strategy? If they want dynamically powered cars fine, just don\'t call it green. Love all the jump-on-the-bandwagon comments above.


While this tech is not a 90% efficiency transfer like charging batteries directly, they have a marginal argument for calling it \"green\" as the dynamic charging is still less polluting that an ICE. So even if they still only get a total \"efficiency\" around 25% there will still be less pollution.

I\'m a strong proponent of this tech because it will allow racing to serve it\'s secondary purpose in the EV market as well by demonstrating cutting edge vehicle technology that will eventually be moved to the public sector. This technology added to modern HOV Low emission vehicle lanes could eliminate range issues by off-boarding the primary energy storage. If a cheap enough system could be developed it could eventually be deployed between cities.



Please tell us where the source of power was indicated in this article. Now the power TRANSMISSION may be losing power via heat or attenuation, but unless you can give some hard numbers as to how much, then please keep your trolling comments to yourself and leave us bandwagon-jumpers be.

Knowledge Thirsty

@Pogo, Formula 1 eliminated refueling (again) for the 2011 (or was it 2010?) season. They also blocked the adoption of KERS systems the same year. Those two changes alone $h!tcanned millions of dollars worth of development the F1 teams had already spent, forcing them all to start over from scratch to accommodate larger fuel tanks, which required redesigning practically the entire rest of the car.

Now the FIA is doing it again. Millions have been spent for a couple of years, only to be 100% obsoleted by some nincompoop control freaks who shouldn\'t be allowed anywhere near any sort of vehicles.

I\'d love to see all the teams just say \"ENOUGH! You French FIA bastards are OUT! WE will set the rules to make our sport cost less, be FUN, competitive and entertaining.\"

Gregg Eshelman

Not to say it\'s a bad idea, but it is certainly not new. Popular Science Magazine did an article about inductive charging for highway use in the 1970 s I believe. Same technology as used in transformers and old style electric toothbrushes. Great idea, teflon insulated wire is already used on inductive operated robotic vehicles used in industrial transport systems. Two issues remain : 1) How to pay for the infrastructure costs and 2) How to power this grid. The whole premise of 100% EVs seem to ignore the fact that on a large scale deployment, they would place an enormous burden on the existing Electric power generating system(s) and distribution grid. Perhaps above room temperature superconducting cable with rapid deployment of fusion power will save the day. Unfortunately, neither seem to be on the near term horizon. I\'d love to see it happen. Just don\'t see it happening soon.


I can see it now...those long straightaways at Sepang will be adorned with solar panels and bracketed with a couple of 3Meg windmills...I wonder what the other tracks will think of? Just another twist of the knife from Big Bad Bernie! How much longer will the sheep allow him to last???


I\'m in favor of this, but not for environmental reasons. It would eliminate pit stops for refueling. That would put more emphasis on the drivers\' abilities, which used to be the main focus in racing.


Some posters are commenting on F1 and this inductive power idea, which F1 is NOT promoting or implementing.


FI has adpoted enignes off in pits with power by electic motors back onto track.

Joseph Shimandle

Im a bit late here but.. So in the F1 rules they now demand that the KERS be electric...

SO the development of team(s) that were using a mechanical system has gone to waste (except that they have developed a better (simpler, higher total efficiency and cheaper) solution for hybrid buses and delivery trucks )

Again, why not use a contact pick-up system for fast charging over a portion of the track a-la trolley-buses and trains (using powered rails flush with the road..

I like developing technology, but as said earlier, this is no more green than me cutting the grass with a petrol lawn mower. (I end up a bit green by the end of it). Transmission losses (not insignificant) then we now have inductive losses (huge) and still there are driveline and charging losses...

If a very efficient IC engine is up to 50%, include thermal energy harvesting from the exhaust, making it more efficient.. (why have they not mandated diesel type engines as per AUDI Le Mons as they are more efficient than petrol engines by a mile or 2)

They call this Green, but it is really just the same political correctness killing us all

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