The Good Oil: The Volvo taxis and the clever tether
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Wireless charging your Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) is the dream, right? No messing about with plugs, just park up and walk away.
Many carmakers are experimenting with just that idea, but Volvo is taking it one step closer to real-world reality with a trial in Sweden.
Over a three-year period, Cabonline, the Nordic region’s largest taxi operator, will be running a “small fleet” of Volvo XC40 Recharge BEVs and charging them wirelessly at selected stations. The technology is provided by a company called Momentum Dynamics, which specialises in wireless charging.
While the “small fleet” claim is suspiciously vague, the companies are planning to work the cars pretty hard. They’ll run 12 hours per day and cover about 100,000km over a year, making this the first true test of Volvo BEVs in a commercial use scenario, with or without comedy charging technology.
Charge speeds are pretty good. The station sends energy through a pad on the road, which is picked up by a receiver in the car. A charge rate of up to 40kW can be achieved, which compares favourably to the 50kW DC public stations commonly found in NZ.
Now, you know how how wireless charging pads for your mobile phone can be a bit fiddly and you sometimes have to align the device and pad in a very specific way? Unfortunately, it’s the same for cars. Volvo says the 360-degree camera system fitted to the XC40 Recharge will help drivers position the car correctly to achieve optimum charging.
The wireless charging test is one of several projects under the Gothenburg Green City Zone project, in which select areas of the city are being used for sustainable initiatives. The aim is to achieve emission-free transport by 2030.