UNPLUGGED project aims to investigate how the use of inductive charging of Electric Vehicles (EV) in urban environments improves the convenience and sustainability of car-based mobility. In particular, it will be investigated how smart inductive charging infrastructure can facilitate full EV integration in the urban road systems while improving customer acceptance and perceived practicality. UNPLUGGED will achieve these goals by examining in detail the technical feasibility, practical issues, interoperability, user perception and socio-economic impacts of inductive charging. As one special variant, inductive en-route charging will be investigated thoroughly.
As part of the project, two smart inductive charging systems will be built, taking into consideration requirements from OEMs, energy utilities and end users. The systems will be innovative and will go beyond the current state of the art in terms of high power transfer, allowing for smart communication between the vehicle and the grid, as well as being in line with the latest inductive charging standards and considering interoperability. These innovative inductive charging systems designed and built as part of the project will then be tested and assessed in order to understand their potential impacts on urban mobility and the acceptance of e-mobility. Application in an en-route charging scenario in particular will be examined for different vehicle types, ranging from cars to buses.
It is anticipated that UNPLUGGED will provide clear evidence on and demonstrate whether the use of smart inductive charging infrastructure can overcome some of the perceived barriers for e-mobility, such as range and size of on-board energy storage, and practical difficulties associated with installing traditional charging post infrastructure.
UNPLUGGED will also include a feasibility study and economic model for dynamic en-route inductive charging. This technology is currently less mature than static en-route charging, however, it has the potential of giving the driver virtually limitless range as long as he stays on paths specifically adapted for it.
In order to pave the way for the vision to become reality, many obstacles will have to be overcome first. This obviously includes technical problems but also economic and social issues as well as the interaction between the EV and the infrastructure. The main challenges UNPLUGGED will achieve are:
Increase the energy transfer efficiency and speed.
Optimize the vehicle/coil positioning
Plan the possible expansion of the power grid to be capable of deal with the new fleet.
Ensure the magnetic field and crash safeties as well as the protection of all devices.
Reach economically feasible solutions
Determine the proper placement for the charging points
Find a secure and fair way to bill the user for the provided energy
Develop a secure wireless communication between the EV and the grid
Ensure the interoperability of the communication and the inductive charging systems.
CIRCE will have an important participation in in the design, simulation and construction of the frequency charger and primary capacitor; the validation of the demonstration systems as well as its integration into the vehicles architecture, the design of the EMI shielding and the activities related with interoperability.
Besides, CIRCE will also participate in the development of the dynamic charging technology and the standardization analysis activities.