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Inductive charging for electric vehicles to be put to the test in real-world trial in Berlin


December 20, 2011

Daimler will supply a Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL, a second generation smart fortwo electric drive and a smart ebike to an energy-efficient house project in Germany

Daimler will supply a Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL, a second generation smart fortwo electric drive and a smart ebike to an energy-efficient house project in Germany

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Inductive charging devices are already making their way into the home as a cable-free option to keep the batteries of everything from mice and keyboards to mobile phones and toothbrushes juiced up. The increasing availability of practical electric vehicles has also seen the technology attract the attention of those looking for for a cable-free way to charge EV batteries. German automakers are taking the opportunity to put inductive charging of EVs to a real-world test as part of the "Effizienzhaus-Plus mit Elektromobilität" project.

The "Effizienzhaus-Plus mit Elektromobilität" (Google translation: House-Plus efficiency with electric mobility) project is a German government-backed initiative to build an energy-efficient house that generates more electricity than it consumes. It will see a family of four living in the house located in Berlin for fifteen months, starting in March 2012. The house has been specifically designed along energy-efficient lines and is intended to demonstrate how energy-efficient building and electric mobility can be combined in real-life conditions. Equipped with photovoltaics and energy management technology, surplus electricity generated will either be fed back into the grid or stored in batteries ready to recharge the batteries of the occupants' electric vehicles.

Audi, BMW, Daimler, Opel and VW will each get a chance to put their respective electric vehicles to the test with each providing EVs to the house for periods of three months each.

Daimler will start proceedings in March 2012 by supplying a Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL modified to include an induction charging option to test how effective the technology proves in real-world conditions. Fitted with a special charging coil, the A-Class E-CELL only needs to be positioned over a charging coil in the ground to automatically begin cable-free charging by way of an electromagnetic field.

Along with the cable charging infrastructure that has been built into the architecture of the house, the carport has also been embedded with the necessary coils for wireless inductive charging, over which the A-Class E-CELL is guided by a special display system. However, the vehicle can also be charged via a cable at public charging stations or via a standard domestic power outlet to allow it to be juiced up when away from home.

In addition to the modified A-Class E-CELL, Daimler will also supply a second-generation smart fortwo electric drive and a smart ebike to see how a family utilizes a variety of electric vehicles as they go about their day-to-day lives. The project hopes to show that "sustainable living and driving is possible without compromising on one's quality of life."

More information can be found on the Effizienzhaus-Plus mit Elektromobilität project page - but you'll need to know your German or make use of a translator.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Can anybody elaborate as to what is the current efficiency ratio of inductive electric charging? Last time I checked it was too low, which made the whole concept unpractical.

Renārs Grebežs

There are claims of efficiency from 80-90% and while this is a waste it\'s not terribly different to injudicious car choice or use. http://www.green.autoblog.com/2011/12/04/future-nissan-leaf-could-be-cheaper-may-have-more-range-wil/ I think EV\'s are unlikely to reduce running costs or save the world from CO2 but shouldnt be discounted for other benefits such as noise reduction, less maintenance and reduced oil reliance.

Daryl McDougall

How large of a solar canopy or rooftop would be needed to charge an inductively charged battery?


why not make it contact inductive charging like my Palm Pre and HP tablet touchstone chargers that center magnetically they work tits

Bill Bennett

inductive charging while driving will only work if a 2nd battery is added to the car. mark my words.

Joe Tomicki

All this bullshit - just to fit \"The Image\" that your lazy arse worthless world will somehow improve if you have to do even less.

\"Oh plug the car in? What a trauma! Can\'t go through with it - Can\'t cope - Too hard - the manufacturers said so\".

Since owning and riding a horse for my daily needs is impractical...

The more crap I read the more I lose my mind - Aka Terry Gilliam\'s \"Brazil\".

The wonderful theme song... Dissolution of reality....


Mr Stiffy

Wow Mr Stiffy Sounds like an interesting movie, but all that from the news that someone is working on an inductive charger for vehicles we dont even have yet? I dont know where youre coming from but if you are suggesting that people could walk or ride a bike more then I totally agree.

Daryl McDougall

The problem with electricity is that until we move the conversion off-planet, solar conversion ratios are too small, and generation by every other means has unknown environmental effects.

Only orbital conversion reduces the side effects of production and use to the distribution of heat as entropy proceeds (and it's possible to use that heat for purposes as diverse as building HVAC to regeneration of electricity.)

Electricity is clean, but electrical generation using current methods is not...provided you look at cradle-to-grave environmental costs.

Until you move the construction and operation of electrical generation systems off-planet, you are faced with major environmental issues--many of which have yet to be considered by 'green' energy designers.

We've been able to do this for 40 years, and the only reason that orbital generation has not been cost-effective compared with conventional generation is that no conventional generation system actually pays all of the costs associated with manufacturing or operation of the generation plants.

Coal & nuclear plants don't pay most of the environmental costs of fuel production and waste disposal. Wind/solar/tidal/wave/hydrological-gravitational systems don't pay the true costs of their manufacture & operation--in some cases, (wind/tidal/wave) those costs are not only unknown for large scale systems, but largely ignored by designers.

Charles Barnard

There are two elephants in this room, efficiency and cost. Why use a simple standardized \"plug\" when you can use massive , inefficient and costly inductors? Beats me! Dig up all of the parking lots in the world and embed this stuff, great if you own copper stocks in your investment portfolio, poor if you have to pay for this unnecessary technology.

Dass iss all folks!


grtbluyonder is absolutely right. Cost and efficiency. But why would anyone get their knickers in a knot over a system being trialled not in parking lots but in a solar powered home. According to the article it also has a cord and I imagine just like EV\'s themselves that no one will be forced to buy an inductive charger. I cant be too sure about that since most cars dont come with crank handles anymore. But if the cost any efficency is right for some people then what is the problem.

Daryl McDougall

If people realized that the system can also run in reverse then you could use your car in a power outage to run your house or offices. Smart thinking

John Graven

OK. The one year study was performed last year. Are there any published findings?

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