For most electric vehicle owners, a bit of downtime to recharge the batteries is probably not a big deal in their daily lives. However, it is a different story in the fleet world, as keeping vehicles moving and maximising utilisation are important aspects of the business.
As an example, should taxi companies make the switch to EVs, leaving them to charge for a significant amount of time or having taxi drivers go off route during working hours to find a charging station aren’t exactly very beneficial in terms of usage. However, that could change with a new programme called “ElectriCity” that will be carried out in Oslo, Norway, which involves Momentum Dynamics working together with Jaguar Land Rover and local taxi operator Cabonline (NorgesTaxi AS).
The project will be the first wireless high-powered charging system for electric taxis in the world that aims to speed up the adoption of EVs globally. This is by providing a fully automatic charging infrastructure model that can be implemented almost anywhere.
In the initial stages of the project, Momentum Dynamics will equip 25 Jaguar I-Pace electric SUVs with high-power charging units to be used by Cabonline. The unit consists of a pad measuring about 600 mm (width) by 600 mm (length) by 30 mm (height), so it can be easily mounted to bottom of the vehicle.
It uses an alternating magnetic field at 85 kHz and the company claims a 94% efficiency in deployed units right now for commercial vehicles, which is better than overhead or cabinet fast chargers. Meanwhile, Fortum Recharge will install charging plates into a section of road near Oslo’s central train station used for the taxi queue – each costing about US$25,000 (about RM106k) or a typical DC fast charger.
The inductive charging system is capable of automatically delivering up to 50 kW in bursts of six to eight minutes, which will give the driver enough time to drop off existing passengers and take on new ones. The process doesn’t require any cables to be plugged in (obviously) or any kind of initialisation via an app or vehicle menu, as all the driver needs to do is align with the charging plate at the bottom of the vehicle.
According to Green Car Reports, the project will see the installation of six charging pads, with three more set to be installed at another location. It also marks the first time that Momentum Dynamics, which usually supplies high-power wireless charging for buses and company fleets, has implemented its technology in a public project for passenger vehicles.
Norway leads the world when it comes to EV adoption, with a mandate requiring all new cars sold in all of Norway to be zero-emission by 2025. This technology fits in well with the mandate as well as the city of Oslo’s aim to make its cab system entirely zero-emission by as soon as 2024.
“This is a technology breakthrough moment in the development of wireless charging for all communities. By providing unlimited driving range, our system enables Oslo cab drivers to stay in revenue service all day,” said Andy Daga, CEO of Momentum Dynamics.
“We are pleased that the system was integrated by Momentum and Jaguar Land Rover engineers into the I-Pace in a matter of weeks, even with the difficulties of Covid-19. This project perfectly outlines the automatic electric taxi charging model for any city looking to implement zero-emission transportation,” he added.