VTT and WiTricity partner on EU project
EU-funded REFLECTIVE project incorporates WiTricity wireless charging system to enable reconfigurable autonomous vehicles
WiTricity, a US maker of wireless charging equipment for EVs, and VTT, a European research institution, has announced a collaboration to install WiTricity's wireless charging technology to support the EU-funded REFLECTIVE project.
The project will evaluate wireless charging as part of REFLECTIVE's work on the development and testing of an innovative, light electric vehicle for urban environments.
"We are proud to coordinate this project with wireless charging and autonomous driving capabilities," said senior scientist, principal investigator Jenni Pippuri-Mäkeläinen at VTT. "Transportation represents almost a quarter of Europe's greenhouse gas emissions, and the work we are doing to streamline and simplify electrification will help us address this climate crisis. Wireless charging is important to accelerate the adoption of EVs and help us make a cleaner, greener world."
WiTricity's patented resonance-based wireless charging system has been successfully installed and tested at VTT's laboratory facility in Tampere, Finland. WiTricity Halo chargers simplify the charging experience by removing the need to plug in — just park and charge. The system delivers 11 kW wireless, enabling a charge rate that provides up to 40-56 km (25-35 miles) of driving range per hour of charging time for a normal passenger vehicle (or 80 km/50 miles of driving range per hour for light vehicles such as the REFLECTIVE vehicle), a speed and efficiency on par with today's Level 2 AC plug-in chargers.
The project's next step will be the integration of the wireless charger into the REFLECTIVE vehicle. With the automated driving system developed by one of the REFLECTIVE partners, Finnish technology company Sensible 4, the REFLECTIVE vehicle can be autonomously repositioned and parked on top of the wireless charger.
"Autonomous vehicles need to be able to charge without human interaction in order to truly reimagine transportation," said Hubert Wolters, WiTricity Vice President of Business Development for Europe. "Our technology removes a barrier to EV adoption and will be especially important as electric vehicles become autonomous. WiTricity Halo's high efficiency, flexible positioning, and all-weather capabilities will be key to the REFLECTIVE project's goals."
The REFLECTIVE project addresses the problem of emissions through the development and testing of an innovative, zero-emission, light electric vehicle concept with a right-sized powertrain that will be intrinsically modular and scalable from a heavy quadricycle to a small passenger car. The vehicle will be tailored to urban usage needs and will be equipped with reconfigurable interiors for multi-purpose uses, from passengers to goods transport. With optimized structural design and Sensible 4 autonomous driving capabilities, the vehicle targets improving the safety, usability, and quality of light vehicles and bridging the gap with actual M1-category vehicles.