Wireless chargers could turn EV racers into life size slot cars
A British electric motorsports company is installing wireless electric vehicle charging stations in pit alley as a test platform for automotive inductive charging. If all goes well, entire track surfaces could function as EV charging stations that top off batteries while cars race.
The project is a partnership between the folks over at New Zealand’s Halo IPT and Drayson Racing, owned by former British Minister of Science Lord Paul Drayson. Drayson Racing has already been a leader in green motorsports, announcing earlier this summer a collaboration with Lola to build an all-electric prototype race car.
Now, Drayson is taking on inductive charging, the same technology used by wireless phone chargers. Halo IPT will install “pickup pads” on cars, which will complete a circuit when “tuned” to an underground magnetic coil, charging the vehicle’s batteries. It’s like a slot car, without the slot or the pin.
The first prototype inductive charging equipped racer is expected to debut later this year, with charging pads in pit alley to follow. The end goal is for inductive chargers buried under the track to provide continuous charging for cars during races at speeds up to 200 mph, eliminating the weight of big battery packs and infinitely extending the on-track range of battery powered racing cars.
“Dynamic wireless charging will be a real game-changer, enabling zero emission electric vehicles to race over long periods without the need for heavy batteries,” Drayson said. ” Motor racing is the ideal environment to fast-track the development of this promising technology and to prove its effectiveness.”
If Halo IPT and Drayson demonstrate that inductive charging technology works on the track, they intend to market it first to other circuits and eventually to the general motoring public.
Halo IPT already has their sights set on developing “e-ways” — stretches of public roadway with inductive chargers buried beneath. The company estimated the cost of building an e-way would be 10 percent more than building a conventional road, however, and doesn’t foresee the technology installed on public roads anytime before 2020.