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May 18, 2017

Qualcomm shows how to charge electric vehicles on (and from) the road

by John_A

Why it matters to you

If the idea of charging your car has dissuaded you from buying an electric vehicle, the convenience of this technology might convince you to take another look.

Electric vehicles have come a long way in recent years, both in terms of their technological development, and their mainstream acceptance among consumers. However, there are still some stumbling blocks are hindering their growth, and one of these is the method of recharging their all-important battery cells.

At present, most electric cars require the driver to plug their vehicle into a power source to recharge while it’s not on the road. The next evolution of the technology seems to be a process where electric cars can recharge while they’re in motion en route to their destination.

Earlier today, Qualcomm demonstrated a technique that it’s calling dynamic charging, according to a report from Venture Beat. A test track in Versailles, France played host to two Renault Kangoo vehicles that were able to charge their batteries simply by driving over specially engineered pads that were embedded into the road surface.

The vehicles were reportedly driving at highway speeds, and still managed to charge at up to 20 kilowatts. While there would obviously be questions to be asked in terms of introducing the necessary infrastructure, this no-hassle charging system could help make electric cars more attractive to potential buyers.

It’s well known that electric cars are better for the environment than traditional petrol or diesel powered vehicles, but charging is still something of a drag for drivers. It can take a long time, and the threat of running out of power before reaching one’s destination has contributed to a phenomenon known as range anxiety.

Qualcomm’s dynamic charging technology is a novel way to integrate charging into the driving experience — but it remains to be seen how long it would take to implement the concept in the real world. In the interim, expect to see more companies push for the expansion of charging stations, as we’ve seen from BMW recently.

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