The key to the future of transportation
In 2018, we live in a world that industrialist Henry Ford dreamed of as he kickstarted the automotive industry. Developers are creating technology for driverless vehicles. Automotive corporations are reducing emissions. With the touch of a phone app, we can have an affordable mode of transportation ready outside our door in minutes. These developments in technology have changed the face of transportation as we know it.
Autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles and ridesharing services are revolutionizing the automotive industry – and the transformation is just beginning. The numbers say it all: EV sales are set to increase from 1.1 million, as reported in 2017, to 30 million by 2030, and more than 33 million autonomous vehicles will be sold globally in 2040. The number of ridesharing users is expected to amount to 77.4 million by 2022. The true impact of this revolution is only a few years away, and many automakers are preparing to take advantage of this massive disruption on the horizon.
While many policies and infrastructure issues are being addressed to aid in the future of transportation, one obvious obstacle is often overlooked: how will autonomous, electric cars recharge? Without a driver, vehicles will be making constant rides, stopping from one consumer to the next, with no one person designated to physically plug the car in. Self-driving cars will eliminate human dependencies over time and the vehicle will need to be equipped to handle this change.
Wireless charging provides the solution to this gap in the future of transportation. This technology allows electric vehicles, no matter the type or size, to automatically charge by positioning over a wireless charging pad cord-free. Magnetic resonance wireless charging technology offers flexible positioning, high efficiency and the ability to transfer power safely through materials like concrete and asphalt, snow and ice. The wireless charging pads can be installed on the ground or embedded flush to the floor of a garage or road, and deliver the same power and charge speeds, and similar efficiency levels, as traditional plug-in charging methods.
This technology is an added convenience for today’s EV drivers, but for those who haven’t yet adopted it will be critical. Plugging in is often cited as a top barrier to adoption by gas-powered vehicle drivers who are considering going electric. Simple “park and charge” wireless charging will appeal to mainstream EV users by completely removing the refueling process from their life. By charging their vehicles wirelessly at their homes overnight or at work during the day, wirelessly charged EVs make charging even easier than refueling a gas-powered vehicle.
The adoption of wireless charging for autonomous vehicles, however, goes beyond “convenience” and becomes a necessity. Wireless charging will ultimately be embedded into the future development of highways, bus stops and parking garages to prepare for the inevitable influx of autonomous cars. With this change in infrastructure, vehicles will not only remain constantly and effortlessly charged, but they will become a moving power source.
Bi-directional, or vehicle-to-grid (V2G), charging describes a two-way flow between the electric grid and the batteries found in EVs. This technology will allow vehicles to become micro energy storage nodes holding the ability to feed power back to the grid during peak loads—creating a more balanced and efficient power grid for all. Bi-directional could provide monetary incentives for EV owners, or be particularly valuable for emergency preparedness. Regardless of its application, wireless power will ultimately enable vehicles to be connected and available on demand.
The building blocks are in place for electric, shared and autonomous vehicles to become commonplace, and when they reach full potential, the transportation industry will transform dramatically: car ownership will be obsolete. Transportation will become safer and more efficient. Vehicles will cause less harm to the environment.
Ford once said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” So, as today’s developers of the automotive industry, let’s work together to create a future of our own, building off of the industry that he created.