Wireless EV charging seems like a technology that is always a few years from being commercially viable, given how fast battery capacities and wired charging speeds are improving nearly every year. But many companies are determined to prove its viability, and Volvo is gearing up for a major test along those lines.
Volvo on Wednesday announced that it will evaluate a fleet of XC40 Recharge electric SUVs using wireless charging in Gothenburg, Sweden, over the next three years. The cars will be driven upwards of 12 hours per day, and Volvo estimates each car will accumulate some 60,000 miles each year. In addition to testing the wireless chargers themselves, Volvo will also use this pilot program to evaluate how its small electric vehicles handle commercial use.
Momentum Dynamics will supply the charging stations, which will be integrated into Gothenburg’s Green City Zone, which is treated as a test bed of sorts for burgeoning clean-vehicle technology. The chargers can provide up to 40 kilowatts of juice, which is pretty close to the 50-kW DC fast chargers many EV owners are used to. To ensure charging is properly established, the fleet of XC40s will use their surround-view camera systems to line themselves up with the chargers, which will be embedded in parking spaces.
“Gothenburg Green City Zone lets us try exciting new technologies in a real environment and evaluate them over time for a potential future broader introduction,” said Mats Moberg, head of R&D for Volvo Cars, in a statement. “Testing new charging technologies together with selected partners is a good way to evaluate alternative charging options for our future cars.”
Wireless charging isn’t just limited to stationary vehicles. In the US, bothand are looking into the viability of wireless charging roads, which would be able to juice up your EV while it drives down the highway. The two Midwestern states will start with dedicated patches of test pavement, but if it all goes well, both have plans to implement the tech on actual roads to determine durability and longevity.