WiCh (Wireless Charging of Electric Vehicles) is a Swedish research and demonstration project studying wireless charging of electric cars from a user’s perspective. The Swedish climate can be cold, rainy and dark, so a charging solution that is quick and easy to use and that works in all weather conditions, will be of great importance for a broad introduction of electric cars on the Swedish market. Wireless charging is considered by many to be ghe charging solution of the future, and it might have the potential to give the electric car the edge that makes it the first choice for Swedish car buyers.
During the WiCh project, which started up in September 2012 and finalizes end of 2016, a total of 20 cars were equipped with wireless charging technology of the type called strongly coupled magnetic resonance. The charging equipment is made up by two different units, a sender placed in the ground at a parking space and a collector mounted underneath the car. Wireless charging paves the way for a fully automatic charging solution, in which the electric car is automatically charged as soon as it is parked above the sender.
In the WiCh project user experience has been in focus. We believe that a wireless charging solution can be a great success for electric cars, but for this to happen it is important to find out what pros and cons users experience when handling the equipment and also to study how they interact with the new technology.
The cars utilized in the study were used in daily operations by employees of the city of Gothenburg and Stockholm, and one Vattenfall employee in Uppsala. The wireless charging was hence evaluated in real life situations by ordinary people. The users were interviewed thoroughly during the project in order to collect their views of the wireless charging and whether they experienced that their charging behavior had changed using the new technology. The results from the interviews was compared with quantitative data collected during the study. The main objective of this project was to answer the question if induction charging changes the charging behavior of the users and if it causes more frequent connection of electric vehicles to the grid.
The inductive charging equipment used in the project was the first generation Plugless supplied by Evatran. For more information see Evatrans homepage, https://pluglesspower.com.
Photos from the project can be found here.