Friday, March 25, 2011

Cool Technology of the Week

As a Prius driver since 2005, I've closely watched the evolution of hybrid vehicles.   The FY10 Prius included an optional solar powered cooling system.   The FY11 Prius offers a plug in option to charge the batteries from household current overnight.

This week, Google installed a wireless induction unit at its Mountain View headquarters to charge a specially equipped Prius.

The charging system is a prototype product from Plugless Power which works on the principle of electromagnetic induction.  A coil in the charging station is connected to an electrical source and another coil is placed in the Prius.  Electric current flowing through a primary coil creates a magnetic field that acts on the secondary coil producing a current within it, charging the Prius battery.

A Prius driver parks the car near a charging station.  A paddle on the charging station moves to align the two coils and charging begins.   The end result is a fully charged battery without wires.

A zero emission vehicle with automatic charging in your parking space.

That's cool!


dom said...

everybody goes crazy about wireless power transfer, but because of its efficiency is so terrible, it especially doesn't make sense on a product which touts efficiency and reduced energy usage.

it would be simpler, cheaper, and (most importantly) more energy-effective to engineer a charging station which automatically connects via physical link.

inductive charging is cool, especially on that scale, but not if you're trying to be green!

Anonymous said...

If your concern is to save energy, I would think this is terribly inefficient.

dom said...

try this on for size:

Anonymous said...

I am concerned with overblowing things out of proportion re: plug-in hybrids.
Adding extra demand on US power grid will likely to be covered mostly by coal-generated electricity. Therefore plug-in Prius or Chevy Volt will run mostly on coal.

We are paying $25,000 extra to upgrade Chevy Cruze with a battery and electric motors to Volt, while extra electric bill will be comparable with saved gasoline cost.