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Wireless Car Charger Test Starts In London

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  • Not a bug (Score:5, Funny)

    by godrik (1287354) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @04:00PM (#40768551)

    "At this stage, Qualcomm is apparently worried about frying cats."

    It's not a bug, it is a feature!

  • ...to singe a cat!

  • Welll.... (Score:2, Funny)

    by cayenne8 (626475)
    ...as long as it is just cats, I think that would be acceptable.

    As long as it doesn't harm dogs!!!

  • by JcMorin (930466) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @04:06PM (#40768625)
    I would like to know how much electricity is lost when using a wireless then a wire.... that seams important to me. Especially that people who drive plug-in car normally care about environment and efficiency. My guess? It's there is a huge chuck of electricity lost. Who care when your charging your iPhone but about a car that seems important to me.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @04:19PM (#40768773)

      If it is anything like wireless gasoline fueling the loss is near 100%. I'm often in a hurry and poking the gas nozzle into my car's gashole is way too time consuming, so I usually just squeeze the handle in its general direction and hope for the best.

      • by nbsr (2343058)

        Hey, but wireless charging is much better than that. By "much better" I mean "at least 2x more efficient".

        BTW, haven't you noticed how everybody complains about these damn gas nozzles? Screw larger and cheaper batteries, we want wireless charging.

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @04:19PM (#40768775)

      Instead of wirelessly. The car should have below the bumper at regulation height, a set of plugs, that allow to pivot up to 30 degrees and slide left and right a few cm. when it parks, it slides into a set of grooves with triangle guides on the corner, that will power the car. Once contact is made the car does a full stop, and will only go in reverse, until unplugged.
      More power efficient, minimum loss of user friendless, easy to install, no fried animals, kids, or stupid adults.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Or better yet, instead of hauling around a great big battery everywhere why not have that set of plugs hang down just a little farther and contact a set of power strips embedded in the roadway, through which electricity would be transferred.

        The car could then have a much smaller battery to power it short distances when not in contact with the strips, such as parking lots and such.

        • You just won't be able to cross the street without risk of electrocution.
          You'll also need to constantly replace the contacts as they will wear down.
          You'll need to constantly clean the tracks on the road too, since dirt isn't very conductive and is very abrasive, especially when it's caught between two rubbing piece of metal.
          • But will we be using the Scaletrix or the Aurora AFX standard?
          • by Immerman (2627577)

            You're right. Instead we could transmit power in overhead cables - most of the dirt would fall off on it's own that way, and if we used a metal wheel for the contact we wouldn't have much abrasion to worry about. We could call them "Cable Cars" and they could run all over the city. This is brilliant! I can't believe nobody's done it before...

            • They already run all over the city I work in. I ride on these similar inventions that have a single wire hanging from a pole and run along metal tracks to get there as well.
        • by lukeshep (581612)
          Agreed. Accelerator can be a plastic trigger instead of a pedal.
      • by sjames (1099)

        And no kids tossing bits of tinfoil under your car because the sparks are so cool!

    • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @04:24PM (#40768841)

      My guess? It's there is a huge chuck of electricity lost.

      Run the numbers and compare to a space heater. If its much above single digits loss you'll melt the car. Its really quite a bit of power.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      Quick skim on Wikipedia makes it look like 60-86%, which...isn't terrible. Not great, but not terrible. I'd be more worried about the possibilities of stray EM fields frying electronic devices (or cats, as the summary mentions). It's quite a lot of power to transfer wirelessly.

    • But who is going to want to plug their car in every time they park it? I see this technology being used in parking buildings. A wireless charger in every parking space. What's to stop it being embedded into the road as well, to assist the battery in powering the car while you drive?
      • by Nurgled (63197)
        I really don't see the problem with plugging in my car when I park it.
        • by Immerman (2627577)

          Never underestimate the profit to be made off of lazy people.

          To quote Garfield: "You can bet it wasn't an exercise nut that invented power steering!"

        • Wear and tear on plugs and sockets, stupid people driving off with it still attached, stupid people leaving the cord on the ground for the next person to run over...
    • by nbsr (2343058)
      Lower efficiency means not only about getting less energy in the battery but also getting more energy outside of it. Would be nice if the losses were just heat but they are not.
  • Just build more Chinese Restaurants.
  • by trevc (1471197)
    How would this be green when wireless charging is so inefficient? Is it really that much extra work to plugin or design some other simple physical connect?
    • by Svippy (876087)

      Coming up next: Wireless petrol stations. Just aim for the tank.

      • by axlr8or (889713)
        screw that, 'Mid Drive' refueling! Where the tanker just pulls up to your vehicle as you hurtle down the road. I'll bet there's a felony behind that idea!
    • the goal is to make your driveway a recharging station so you can continue to live your life without worrying about a wired power source or living things getting fried. so yeah, it's a lot of extra work. the only thing that would make it green is if the energy source feeding the charger were derived cleanly. that hasn't happened yet for most of our power sources. it's still mostly oil, gas and coal. your electric vehicle still relies on the burning of fossil fuels.
  • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @04:10PM (#40768661)

    For me they seem like they are trying to solve the wrong problem. For the Electric Car, it is having locations where we can plug in the wire, which is the same as having locations to park your wireless charger. Will work pay the power bill if you park your car at work and plug it in or wireless charge it? Probably Not.

    The big problem is infrastructure, not pushing a button and plugging in a big wire. Besides if the goal with electric cars is to be green, why waste so much power on transferring it wirelessly?

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Besides if the goal with electric cars is to be green, why waste so much power on transferring it wirelessly?

      Because people are lazy and want things to Just Work.

      • Yes, but we are use to things like filling our Gas Tank, or charging our cell phone at the end of the day.

        • Why the hell is having a battery swap system so complicated? You pull up at the station, drop your batteries off, load in some fresh charged ones.

          But then again, why is everyone obsessed with cars when 90% of the time they are making the same shitty journey back and forth to work...

          • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

            I agree. People seem to have no problem swapping propane tanks for the BBQ.

          • Because the batteries weight about 400 pounds, full or empty!
            • by Anonymous Coward
              ...and cost $10,000 a piece. I'm not swapping my new $10,000 battery for something at the local Sip 'N Gas.
              • by Immerman (2627577)

                That's why they don't sell you the batteries. Your car is $10k cheaper up front and you lease the batteries as part of your "energy subscription". It has the added benefit that wear leveling can take place across the entire EV-driving population so nobody gets stuck with worn-out batteries, they just get retired/recycled by the charging company as they reach their end-of life. In fact you could even (in principle) extend their useful life considerably by offering older batteries to those who rarely use m

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DarkofPeace (1672314)
      Cables are expensive and they wear out. Plus most people won't put them back up and they get ran over and damaged. If they figure this out, you could park and you car would automagicly charge. remember, you have to design for the stupid.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by maxwell demon (590494)

        I prefer if the stupid are not able to use a car. It will make the roads much safer.

        • by Rockoon (1252108)
          Then transportation taxes would have to go up to make up the difference, making you look stupid too.
      • by johnw (3725)

        Plus most people won't put them back up and they get ran over and damaged.

        You mean the way people never put the nozzles back in the pump at filling stations and leave them draped across the ground? That irritates me too.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      For me they seem like they are trying to solve the wrong problem

      If it's a useful intermediate step to having the technology to have roads detect EVs and charge them first when they stop at a light and later as they drive down the highway, or hell maybe I have which will be first backwards, then it's a good thing.

      if the goal with electric cars is to be green, why waste so much power on transferring it wirelessly

      You are well behind the times. Losses from wireless charging can now be very low. Unless, of course, there's a cat in the way.

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        You are well behind the times. Losses from wireless charging can now be very low. Unless, of course, there's a cat in the way.

        While that is true, wireless is still less efficient than wired, so the OP's question still holds.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          While that is true, wireless is still less efficient than wired, so the OP's question still holds.

          It's obvious that taking the user out of the equation is a good idea, because so many users are so goddamned stupid.

    • by Carnildo (712617)

      Besides if the goal with electric cars is to be green, why waste so much power on transferring it wirelessly?

      The article brings up two good points:
      1) Unlike a cable, the wireless transfer system is nearly vandalism-proof. Install the transmitter pad under an inch of pavement and vandals will need a backhoe to damage it.
      2) The wires in the system are entirely sealed. You can use this to charge even in pouring rain without risking electrocution.

    • Transfer efficiency is an important point, but I might also be a bit concerned about heat generation; a lot of wireless inductive chargers I've seen for small devices like ipods and such do seem to generate a lot of heat, which doesn't always do great things for battery systems. The vandalism/weatherproofing issues are good points, though, and worth consideration.

      To be fair, I admit some bias. Every time there's a push for electric cars, I can't help wanting to play Rush's "Red Barchetta" pretty loud.
    • by idomagic (1324889)

      For me they seem like they are trying to solve the wrong problem. For the Electric Car, it is having locations where we can plug in the wire, which is the same as having locations to park your wireless charger. Will work pay the power bill if you park your car at work and plug it in or wireless charge it? Probably Not.

      Rfid/or similiar tech on car + EV-charging subscription with some electrical company + a cut of the earnings to whoever owns the pad = Problem solved? (And incentives to invest in pads)

      The big problem is infrastructure, not pushing a button and plugging in a big wire.

      Yes, and having something that's easy to deploy is far more likely to actually be deployed compared to the likely much higher cost, and time consuming installation, of corded charging stations.

      Besides if the goal with electric cars is to be green, why waste so much power on transferring it wirelessly?

      Because it is still lightyears better than fossil fuel? (And actually not so bad you make it sound like)

    • FWIW, my company has electric car parking with little credit card swipes that charge you for the energy. We're a healthcare system in the Midwest, not a Silicon Valley group also.
  • by yotto (590067) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @04:10PM (#40768667) Homepage

    It should be a pretty typical month in London, so their test should get accurate results.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Plus, The Halo System from Qualcomm better have paid to be an Official Wireless Charging Sponsor or they're going to have trouble!

  • What are the effects of all of that energy floating around? I think this needs more testing. Also, this sounds highly inefficient.
    • by yanom (2512780)
      "All of that energy floating around" is a magnetic field. I only affects iron materials.
    • Re:Health effects? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Carnildo (712617) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @05:18PM (#40769561) Homepage Journal

      What are the effects of all of that energy floating around?

      "All that energy" is in the form of a time-varying magnetic field. The effects are well-known: electrical currents (eddy currents [wikipedia.org]) are induced in nearby conductive objects. The bulk of the current (probably around 85%) is generated in the receiving pad and gets siphoned off to charge the car's battery; the rest goes to heating up other objects. Since magnetic fields fall off as the third power of distance, the only "other object" that's likely to see much temperature rise is the lower frame of the car, and the only testing that's needed is to make sure the heating is uniform rather than generating hot spots.

      • by fgouget (925644)

        I agree that 100% biological humans should not be affected by this. However I wonder what effect it could have on people wearing pacemakers [wikipedia.org] or implantable defibrillators [wikipedia.org]. They are already told to avoid arc welding, MRIs, or placing some headset too close to the pacemaker. Not that it's a big issue as long as Halo chargers are only placed in a few homes and parking spots. People who may be affected can just avoid those. However Qualcom's dreams seem to be to charge cars as they drive by installing Halo modul

  • by Tekfactory (937086) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @04:16PM (#40768733) Homepage

    Qualcomm clearly didn't understand my voice mail.

  • by mykepredko (40154) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @04:20PM (#40768779) Homepage

    The most interesting aspect of the article was reading that Qualcomm regularly invests in technology that may not pay back for 10 years.

    Nice to see a company that is looking long term rather than maximizing the profits for this quarter.

    myke

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is putting a plug in REALLY so hard? Is it a major problem to getting everyone electric cars? no...
    having ANYPLACE to plug in is.

    And the cost. And the battery replacement cost.

    That battery pack has a limited lifetime. And so far its cheaper to run the gasoline car for the same duration. (so far. now that gas has gone back down)

    • by compro01 (777531)

      Plugs wear out and are vulnerable to vandalism.

      Barring the vandals packing jackhammers, you're not going to vandalize something embedded in the pavement.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Barring the vandals packing jackhammers

        You've met British road workers, then?

  • How could this be safe?

    Just like CFL bulbs are not being said to cause skin damage. I'm not talking about the Mercury here either http://www.humanevents.com/2012/07/23/study-says-energy-efficient-light-bulbs-may-emit-harmful-radiation/ [humanevents.com]

    Before we leap into this where is the safety checks on all this stuff. IF I had a small child that got fried there would be all hell to pay. I know the article mentions fried eggs and fried cats but still.
    • by Carnildo (712617)

      IF I had a small child that got fried there would be all hell to pay. I know the article mentions fried eggs and fried cats but still.

      The article mentions fried eggs because this operates on the same principle as an induction cooktop: stick a pan of eggs on the charger, and the resulting eddy currents will heat the pan.

      A 20-kilowatt charging pad is likely to waste about 3kW in heating various things (mostly the receiving pad and the charging pad; to a lesser extent, the frame of the car). I suspect the fri

  • Fried cats are tasty, nutritious, and go well with ketchup!
  • He wanted to supply household current via tesla coils.
    But Westinghouse asked "Where do you put the electric meters" ?

  • Roll up under some high power lines and charge away. My friends dad use to capture electricity with some gizmo on his farm from the high power lines that the BC hydro had running through the property.

  • plug the damned things in? Is it really worth the loss of efficiency of the wireless charging scheme?

    • by rkfig (1016920)
      Just slightly more trouble than it is for the teenage boy walking by to unplug it after watching you walk inside, making you not able to get to work in the morning.
  • Electric cars thought to cause brain tumors, news at 10.

  • Disneyland has been using wireless charging on the Toontown Trolley for twenty years.
  • This is one tech I can do without.
    A kill zone in my house? NO.

  • So a technology that at its core is electrons moving through a metal just isn't suited to have metal touching metal to charge it? WTF? And for a green energy, a big selling point is that you're going to lose a massive amount of energy in transmission through directed energy beam absorbtion? MEGA WTF. If people smoke a cigarette while pumping gasoline, they blow up. If people electrocute themselves despite like 50 safety measures while charging their electric car, they die. It's called natural selectio
  • Inductive car chargers are a monopoly-enabling technology -- people won't be able to charge their car without going to the charging station that sells electricity above the prices from electric utilities.

  • I know, they're idiots, but eventually metal thieves will figure out just how much copper is in an electric motor. This technology, I presume, will add significantly to the amount of copper wire in an electric car, with copper being the most common metal used in coil windings. I'll not even go into the resell value of automotive battery packs, for which there is already a healthy black-market.

    How much copper does it take to turn a metal thief into a car thief?

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