Wireless electric car charging trial under way in Buckinghamshire

New trial is aimed at drivers with no off-street parking so they can charge their electric cars without plugging them in...

HiyaCar wireless charging

Electric car drivers are being given the opportunity to take part in a trial for wireless car charging.

The 12-month trial, which is taking place in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, uses induction charging technology that was designed by charging firm Char.gy, in partnership with Warwick University and IPT Technology. 

The system works in a similar way to wireless smartphone charging, where an electrical charging pad is installed into a parking spot and activates once an electric car drives over it. It then transfers energy to a receiving pad that is attached beneath the car.

Since a lot of electric cars are not yet compatible with wireless charging, the trial will make use of 10 Renault Zoes that have been modified to be compatible with the new technology.   

Charging rates are yet to be revealed, but we can expect these charging pads to deliver electricity at either 3kW, 7kW or 22kW. Charging times will depend on the size of your car’s battery and the maximum rate your car accepts. For example, an Audi E-tron could take around 26 hours with a 3kW charging pad and nine hours with a 22kW pad to fully charge.

HiyaCar wireless charging pad

Additionally, research from data analytics company Field Dynamics revealed that 25% of households don’t have access to off-street parking and therefore rely on the UK’s public charging network. A What Car? survey also revealed that nearly half of electric car buyers don’t know where their nearest public charging station is – making it harder for them to charge their vehicles. 

The survey also asked drivers who were not yet looking to make the switch to an electric car what their main reason for this was, and 19% said the UK’s charging infrastructure was their biggest hurdle. 

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has estimated that the UK will need to invest up to £16.7 billion on public chargers by 2035 to keep up with the mass electric car uptake. 

The new wireless technology should help improve the UK’s charging infrastructure and make charging easier for those who don't have a driveway, garage or other convenient access to a charging point.  

Drivers interested in going electric are free to book a Zoe that can charge wirelessly through hire firm HiyaCar’s website. Bookings are available for £1 an hour or for £5 a day (plus insurance costs).

The project has been backed by funding from the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) and Innovate UK. Trials in nine other locations are expected to follow in the near future, all based around Buckinghamshire.

BMW has conducted similar wireless charging trials in Germany and the US, with a small number of selected customers being offered the chance to lease a plug-in hybrid 530e luxury saloon with an inductive charging pad. The technology hasn't been made widely available yet, though. 


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