DEVC An Innovation Story
18 May 2017
The future of urban mobility is connected, autonomous, electric, and wireless. And Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI) is one of the companies leading the charge — figuratively. Qualcomm Halo, our wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) technology, is a simple and efficient way to charge electric vehicles (EV), helping drive a cleaner and smarter future for urban mobility.
Imagine a future where you’re in your EV on a highway and able to pick up charge while driving Now imagine a slow-moving taxi queue of EVs being able to pick up charge even in traffic. These scenarios are all possible with Qualcomm Halo dynamic electric vehicle charging (DEVC). Based on our WEVC technology, which allows cars to charge while parked, DEVC — charging while driving — has been tested and proven.
From speedways to roadways
Qualcomm Halo WEVC technology has been tried and tested in the harsh racing environment of the FIA Formula E race series since its launch three years ago. QTI is an Official Technology and Founding Partner of the FIA Formula E Championship. As a leader in wireless technology, QTI is supporting Formula E in its quest to incorporate exciting, new, and innovative technologies into the race series. Qualcomm Halo WEVC systems are integrated into the Official Qualcomm Safety Cars, enabling these key support vehicles to be charged wirelessly. This ensures that they remain fully charged at all times, ready to be rapidly deployed in case of an emergency.
Now QTI has designed, built, and tested a DEVC system capable of charging an EV dynamically at, and in excess of, 100 km/h with 20 kW. Even better, we’ve done this with not just one vehicle but two — charging them simultaneously.
“This is a huge achievement, and as someone who’s studied wireless power transfer and focused my career on its commercialisation, this is pretty cool stuff,” says Michael Kissin, Director Engineering, Qualcomm New Zealand Limited. “Being part of a team helping to drive change and deliver technology to benefit the industry, the planet and how we power passenger vehicles of the future is absolutely fascinating.”
Qualcomm Halo DEVC technology is based on research undertaken at Qualcomm’s Auckland facility, where the concept has been proven at low speed. The original objective of the project was to demonstrate how WEVC is applicable to dynamic charging.
It was during this period that FABRIC began. FABRIC is a €9M project, partly funded by the European Commission, that addresses the technological feasibility, economic viability, and socio-environmental sustainability of wireless DEVC. The goal of FABRIC is to conduct feasibility analysis of wireless DEVC as a means of range extension, allowing EV drivers more freedom without worrying about reaching the next charging station.
From Auckland, the design went through industrialization before being built for the FABRIC installation. This process involved fine-tuning the design, where we once again paid attention to the cost of materials, making sure that we had a solid solution that stacked up commercially and technically.
A QTI engineering team in Munich, Germany then built the DEVC system.
DEVC demonstrations took place at the 100-meter FABRIC test track, which has been built by Vedecom at Satory, Versailles, near Paris. QTI and Vedecom installed the primary part of the Qualcomm Halo DEVC system in the test track, while Vedecom and Renault installed the secondary part on two Renault Kangoos. The Qualcomm Halo DEVC system was handed over to Vedecom for the FABRIC tests.
How it works
Here are the components that make up the full Qualcomm Halo DEVC system at FABRIC:
- The 100-meter track, comprised of 4 x 25 meter stubs, each running from its own power supply.
- Each stub powers 14 Base Array Network (BAN) blocks coupled magnetically into the backbone cable.
The power is transmitted across the air gap to two 10 kW vehicle pads (VPs) located under the EV. The vehicle system converts the 85-kHz AC and delivers DC power as requested to the EV’s battery management system.
Qualcomm Halo technology was designed with interoperability in mind. This means EV drivers will be able to wirelessly charge at any WEVC bay independent of which supplier provides the hardware, or EV they drive. BP magnetics support a range of power transfer levels and varying vehicle ground clearances from SUVs to roadsters, and they’re also suitable for surface, flush and buried installations.
WEVC technology that drives the future
“A question I get asked a lot is when can I buy a vehicle with WEVC installed and ready to use,” Kissin states. “The number of development contracts and requests for quotation from automotive OEMs is on the increase. We expect that production orders will be placed soon, and we will start to see WEVC systems on production vehicles in the next two to three years.”
While Qualcomm builds and tests demo equipment, we don’t manufacture ourselves, but operate a licensing business model. We license Tier 1 suppliers of the automotive manufacturers as well as EV infrastructure suppliers. Publicly announced licensees to date include: Chargemaster, Efacec, Brusa, Ricardo, Lear, Lumen, and Preh.
“I am immensely proud of what we have achieved,” says Qualcomm Vice President and General Manager of Wireless Charging Steve Pazol. “The combination of a global team of expert engineers and Qualcomm Halo technology, which covers all aspects of WEVC systems, irrespective of the magnetics used, has enabled us to really push the boundaries of the possible and outline our vision for future urban mobility.”