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USU Demonstrates In-Motion Electric Vehicle Power Transfer

The Herald Journal Monday, May. 16, 2016


Typically, the Conference on Electric Roads and Vehicles is held in Park City, but this year attendees from all over the country descended on Utah State University and got to see the first-ever demonstration of an electric vehicle being wirelessly charged in motion. ... That demonstration for CERV attendees is thanks to USU’s new Electric Vehicle and Roadway, or EVR, at USU’s Innovation Campus, next to the Utah Science Technology and Research building. The facility has been open for almost a year, but Monday’s demonstration marked its official unveiling. ... The facility, complete with a test track, allows USU researchers to build on the work they have already done with stationary wireless power transfer and test the viability of such power transfer for vehicles in motion. In 2012, USU demonstrated it could do a stationary wireless charge on an electric vehicle. ... “The stationary charger built here previously was a stake in the ground and a major milestone forward,” Zane said. “The stationary charge has an important place, but for a broader market, we think you need another solution, so the test track we have up here is really looking to the next stage: Can you demonstrate the ability to charge vehicles wirelessly while they’re in motion. This really gets at the range problem, particularly for the long-haul drive on the interstate system.” ... Since EVR opened, USU researchers have combined their expertise in electrical, mechanical and civil engineering disciplines to tackle the design of the coils in the roadway and how it interacts with the roadway and the structure of the system; sensor and intelligence testing for the roadway and vehicle have also been conducted. ... Another reason for building the EVR is to integrate multiple additional technologies that improve the performance and capability of wireless power transfer, reducing weight on the vehicle and increasing lifetime of the battery pack. ... On Monday, CERV attendees spoke highly of the EVR at USU. The CERV conference brings together officials from academic, government and business to discuss electric vehicles and wireless power transfer. ... Blaine Leonard, intelligent transportation systems manager for the Utah Department of Transportation, which plans, budgets and deploys traffic cameras, fiber optic systems and more. ... “We’re interested in any kind of technology that helps motorists in Utah move more efficiently,” Leonard said. “We don’t have a fleet of vehicles I think this technology would fit for — our snowplows are probably too heavy-duty — so our interest isn’t in deploying it for ourselves. Our interest is just employing support for any organization that supplies this technology.” ... Daniel Mikat, senior principal engineer for alternative fuel vehicles with Toyota, also rode the USU bus Monday. Mika said he is representing Toyota at the CERV conference because the major car company is testing multiple vehicle technologies. ... Toyota is testing wireless power transfer, and Mikat thinks it could be promising. ... “I liked the dynamic charging; you don’t have to stop,” Mikat said. “That’s a really cool way that could be a game changer in the whole automotive industry. This is a good demonstration of what might happen in the future.”



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