As if you needed another reason to check out Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, electric vehicle technology startup Evatran announced this week that it has installed a Plugless Power charging station at Google HQ. This is the first public installation of Evatran's wireless EV charger, which uses something called "proximity charging" to juice up Googlers' Nissan Leafs and Tesla Roadsters.
The charging station is made up of a parking block, a control tower that keeps track of whether a car is charging, and an adapter mounted to the vehicle. When an adapter-equipped car pulls up to the parking space, the block adjusts to align with the adapter and starts charging. There is no flow of electricity between the adapter and the parking block—instead, the charger uses electrical induction, which generates power from the connection of two magnetic coils. In this case, the coils are housed inside the parking block and the adapter.
There is a disadvantage compared to the plug and cord variety of EV charger: the Plugless Power stations lose a little bit of energy in the transfer from coil to coil. Evatran plays off the problem on its website, explaining that "although Plugless Power does anticipate a small efficiency loss (less than 10%), this does not translate to an increased charging time. The capacity of an EV’s battery to accept charge is not affected by the efficiency loss. The battery will continue to accept the same amount of power at one time, but the charger will draw additional watts from the electrical outlet to compensate for the small efficiency loss."
Evatran doesn't plan on making its vehicle adapter available to everyone on Google's campus. The company will, however, test the technology using a retrofitted short-range EV owned by Google (there are many short-range EVs puttering around the campus). Evatran is working with automakers to integrate its adapter technology into mass-market EVs by next year. No word yet on a sale price for the parking block.
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