Inductive Charging Of Electric Vehicles: Conveniently Inefficient

Google Inductive Charging Station
Inspired by a post on, Wireless Charging for Electric Cars Is Cool but Totally Unnecessary

Inductive charging, or wireless charging, is the use of electromagnetic fields to transfer power from one source to another. It’s all about the coils and when inductive charging technology is applied to electric vehicles, it only has to park or drive over a pad to receive an electrical current and charge its batteries. No need to plug it in and you get a fully charged EV the next morning or while you drive. Siemens and BMW are partnering on a program to further this technology by installing a inductive charging station in the city of Berlin in two months.

My question: do we really need this feature to get people to purchase electric vehicles? According to Wiki, at its current best, inductive charging is only 86% efficient with the rest of the electrical current being lost as waste heat. Convenience takes precedent over efficiency and that really seems to run counter to the purpose of driving an EV.

We’ll see what happens. When the Rolls-Royce Phantom 102EX electric car rolls out, it’s set to have the inductive charging feature but it won’t be receiving the Jubbling patch. That’s earned by working through some inconvenience and in this case, all that would mean is that you actually have to plug your EV into an outlet.


Engine Idle No More Thanks To Micro Hybrid Technology And Micro Hybrid Conversions

Drive a hybrid vehicle and one of the first things you’ll notice is the start/stop feature of the technology. At any intersection or stop light, the engine automatically shuts off and your first reaction might be to restart it. But it’s not necessary because you’re idling with the engine off, running off of the same battery that will propel your vehicle when the light turns green. It’s the start-stop (or stop-start) that is the key component of all hybrids and responsible for reducing CO2 emissions by up to 20% and increasing fuel economy by 5-10%. Adding this feature to your existing vehicle through a micro hybrid conversion might be only 1-2 years away.



For city drivers, the micro hybrids start-stop feature has the obvious advantage of improved fuel economy. In addition, the reduction in CO2 emissions and the improved air quality will have a positive effect on city residents.

Micro hybrids are already popular outside of the US and the technology has been implemented into mass-produced cars since 2004. It’s estimated that half of the new cars sold in Europe by 2012 will be start-stop featured micro hybrids. Automakers, including Peugeot/Citroen, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, incorporate micro hybrid technology into their vehicles at the manufacturing stage using start-stop technology from companies like Valeo. But why hasn’t this taken off in the US?

Micro hybrid adoption in the US has been slow and definitely hampered by the EPA’s refusal to credit automakers for installing the CO2 reducing, fuel saving technology. Why else would automakers like Honda, Toyota and BMW build cars with the micro hybrid feature and not sell them in the US? Because the option costs up to $500 more and the EPA’s city driving MPG tests’ only includes one full-stop that will not show any significant gain, a .1 – .2 MPG improvement, by using start-stop technology.

That brings us back to the conversion. According to an article in The Daily Green, new high-performance battery technology from companies like PowerGenix will allow car owners to retrofit their existing vehicles with micro hybrid technology for about $500. From The Daily Green:

About $150 to $200 of the cost of the system is a larger battery to handle the larger load from many thousands of engine starts and restarts. Also necessary is a relatively straightforward belt-integrated starter/generator to replace the alternator.

Whatever way we get there, adding micro hybrid technology to currently owned vehicles seems like a cinch with or without the EPA recognizing the savings to fuel and reduction of CO2 emissions. We’ll post an update on regarding micro hybrid conversion providers.

And if you are looking at purchasing a new vehicle, you should definitely consider one with micro hybrid technology. The benefits more than likely will not be reflected in the MPG ratings or realized during highway driving but will play out through reduced fuel consumption and emissions.