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.