Stellantis Tests Inductive Charging on the Road

Industry News – July 07, 2022

Carefree charging of the electric car while driving, even at highway speeds - what was previously a mere pipe dream has now been realized by the Stellantis Group.

After successful tests on the "Arena del Futuro" test track, the Stellantis car group demonstrated the potential of Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT) technology with project partners in Chiari, Italy. According to Stellantis, a DWPT system is integrated into the outer lane of the track, allowing an e-vehicle such as the Fiat 500e to travel at highway speeds without discharging the battery. The DWPT is a system of coils positioned under the road surface that transmits energy directly to the vehicles without requiring them to stop at charging stations to recharge the battery. The technology can be used in any vehicle equipped with a special receiver that transmits the energy coming from the coils to the electric motors. According to Stellantis, this technology can help increase the range of electric cars while reducing power losses during energy distribution.

The energy flow between the asphalt and the car was so strong during the test that it can be compared to the efficiency of a fast-charging station, Stellantis said. Still, the magnetic field remained weak enough that negative effects on passengers in the car or pedestrians were not expected.

Stellantis said the project proved that inductive charging technology can drive the electrified future. These joint projects, he said, are exciting steps toward longer battery life, reduced range anxiety, greater energy efficiency, smaller battery size, outstanding performance, and reduced weight and cost. DWTP inductive power transfer does not require any exposed cables. That's why Stellantis believes the technology is suitable not only for urban environments and the diverse road users found there. It could also be used in parking lots and around ports and airports.

According to Stellantis, one of the ways in which the Arena del Futuro differs from other similar projects is that it is powered by direct current, which should result in fewer energy losses during distribution. It also eliminates the need to convert direct current to alternating current, and it can use thinner cables, and apparently aluminum cables, which are still conductive enough to do the job but cost half as much as copper.

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