Jan 16, 2014

Wireless charging the new trend for electric vehicles

6 min
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The concussion from the artillery round knocked him to the ground and into a haze of dust, distress, and chaos. With his head ringing and shrapnel poking out of his arm, U.S. Army Capt. Jeremy McCool felt around for his fellow soldiers and carried them to safety into the makeshift command station set in the middle of an Iraqi village.

The villagers - mothers, sisters, and wives - had ventured out in daylight to the U.S. command station that afternoon, an act of extreme danger and courage, to identify three detained insurgents who were known to have killed the male members of this family.

When the women approached the U.S. Command station, McCool, an interpreter, and another officer walked out to greet them. Seconds later the bomb exploded. Everyone was injured, but everyone was also, alive. The women, after being treated by medics, positively identified the insurgents, who were eventually sentenced to death by an Iraqi judge; but the war and the killing continued.

For McCool, a handsome, strapping young man who had played collegiate football in Oklahoma, who had three brothers in the military stationed around the globe, and whose family history of military service traces back to the Revolutionary War, this close call changed him in more ways than the physical damage to his arm and inner ear.

“The idea for wireless charging of electric vehicles started as a promise I made in Baghdad while I was an infantry platoon leader,” McCool says. “With too many close calls on my side, I made a decision to do anything in my power that I could to reduce our reliance on foreign fuels as a method of obtaining energy security in the United States.”

The HEVO Concept

McCool safely returned to the United States, exited out of the military as a captain, and then went to Columbia University for graduate studies in urban policy and sustainability; and that's where this whole idea of electric vehicle infrastructure began to emerge as his core thesis. HEVO (Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Optimization) Power launched in November 2011, while McCool finished his graduate degree.

Built on the vision of creating the global standard for wireless charging, the mission of HEVO is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles through the deployment of their wireless charging network. By offering a wireless charging option for electric vehicles, HEVO will provide a safe, efficient, and affordable method of charging that eliminates the hazards and inconveniences associated with plug-in charging.

“I built a team around the concept that wireless charging was the technology that would accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and we started by focusing on fleets,” McCool says.

Companies like Frito-Lay, Fresh Direct, Walgreens/Duane Reade were already implementing electric vehicles into their fleets in New York City. “We began to interview those companies and meet with those end-users and tried to figure out how they were using vehicles and what could be done better. We walked away from every conversation with the realization that plug-in stations we're the tether to adoption of electric vehicles,” McCool says.

“These companies were excited about the possibilities of what wireless electric charging units could bring to the table because it would eliminate getting the plug-in and it would eliminate problems of backing into a plug-in station and damaging those stations,” McCool says “It would also help them to mitigate problems with the plug in stations, which were linked to damaging their fleet vehicles.”

How HEVO Works

The concept of wireless charging is about having a coil at a charging station that's connected to grid power. The HEVO charging stations have a coil inside a disk that resembles a manhole cover in the pavement – shaped like that so it fits seamlessly into the existing infrastructure – and that coil resonates when power is applied to it.

The charging disk sends out energy to other coils that are within its vicinity and through that process a handshake is formed and they begin to resonate. The receiving coil, which is attached to the bottom of the electric vehicle, charges the battery as the vehicle is parked above the disk.

“It's simple technology. Wireless charging has been around more than 100 years; Nikola Tesla was the pioneer of the technology,” McCool says. “Wireless charging has been used in transformer technology and even in electric toothbrushes.”

The roll out strategy is to start with loading bays of warehouses, which are the home bases for these delivery fleets that are deploying electric vehicles. The wireless charging spaces would have these charging disks embedded into them and the vehicles would charge overnight. The drivers would then be able to drive away without having to unplug or do anything else.

“What we have is absolutely in tune with what fleet operators are demanding,” McCool says. “We have fixed commitments for our pilot [program] to begin in the second and third quarters of 2014 with multiple well known fleets – such as PepsiCo, City Harvest, Duane Reade/Walgreens.”

Smart Technology

The charging station will also provide the users with key characteristic data. As each charging incident begins, HEVO will be able to show the parametrics for every single one of those charging incidents to the fleet operators and then compile that information into easily adaptable data.

“We give them piece of mind of knowing that we are monitoring each charging incident at thousands and millions of data points to ensure that it is operating within the correct threshold,” McCool says. “We can provide important information such as how much money they save in terms of their fleet costs and fuel savings; how much carbon and CO2 emissions have been abated.”

All these fleet diagnostics and fleet operating pieces of software are vital to the acceleration of the adoption of the HEVO technology. Fleet operators will be able to relay details to management on how electric vehicles are affecting the day-to-day operations of the company.

Phone App

There would be a portal of information available through the app to the driver so they can see the battery's charge, how many miles they can travel on that charge, and where the nearest charging station is located. They would have the opportunity for wireless bill pay and other key pieces of commerce

“We are focused in making sure we are getting the data the operators are saying they need,” McCool says. “That app is the one piece that ties together the entire ecosystem. For a fleet driver, that app is their connection to HEVO and so that's a critical piece of technology for us.”

Core Values

“During the surge we did our best to create some level of normalcy for the Iraqi citizens,” McCool says. “On the home front my mom was an inspiration as she had four of us in the military at the same time; it was harder for her and the family than for us.”

And that's why McCool wants HEVO and its patrons to lead the transportation evolution that will help achieve energy independence while protecting the environment and security interests of future generations. Then, maybe a level of normalcy will return for us all. 

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Jun 25, 2021

UK must stop blundering into high carbon choices warns CCC

Dominic Ellis
5 min
The UK must put an end to a year of climate contradictions and stop blundering on high carbon choices warns the Climate Change Committee

The UK Government must end a year of climate contradictions and stop blundering on high carbon choices, according to the Climate Change Committee as it released 200 policy recommendations in a progress to Parliament update.

While the rigour of the Climate Change Act helped bring COP26 to the UK, it is not enough for Ministers to point to the Glasgow summit and hope that this will carry the day with the public, the Committee warns. Leadership is required, detail on the steps the UK will take in the coming years, clarity on tax changes and public spending commitments, as well as active engagement with people and businesses across the country.

"It it is hard to discern any comprehensive strategy in the climate plans we have seen in the last 12 months. There are gaps and ambiguities. Climate resilience remains a second-order issue, if it is considered at all. We continue to blunder into high-carbon choices. Our Planning system and other fundamental structures have not been recast to meet our legal and international climate commitments," the update states. "Our message to Government is simple: act quickly – be bold and decisive."

The UK’s record to date is strong in parts, but it has fallen behind on adapting to the changing climate and not yet provided a coherent plan to reduce emissions in the critical decade ahead, according to the Committee.

  • Statutory framework for climate The UK has a strong climate framework under the Climate Change Act (2008), with legally-binding emissions targets, a process to integrate climate risks into policy, and a central role for independent evidence-based advice and monitoring. This model has inspired similarclimate legislation across the world.
  • Emissions targets The UK has adopted ambitious territorial emissions targets aligned to the Paris Agreement: the Sixth Carbon Budget requires an emissions reduction of 63% from 2019 to 2035, on the way to Net Zero by 2050. These are comprehensive targets covering all greenhouse gases and all sectors, including international aviation and shipping.
  • Emissions reduction The UK has a leading record in reducing its own emissions: down by 40% from 1990 to 2019, the largest reduction in the G20, while growing the economy (GDP increased by 78% from 1990 to 2019). The rate of reductions since 2012 (of around 20 MtCO2e annually) is comparable to that needed in the future.
  • Climate Risk and Adaptation The UK has undertaken three comprehensive assessments of the climate risks it faces, and the Government has published plans for adapting to those risks. There have been some actions in response, notably in tackling flooding and water scarcity, but overall progress in planning and delivering adaptation is not keeping up with increasing risk. The UK is less prepared for the changing climate now than it was when the previous risk assessment was published five years ago.
  • Climate finance The UK has been a strong contributor to international climate finance, having recently doubled its commitment to £11.6 billion in aggregate over 2021/22 to 2025/26. This spend is split between support for cutting emissions and support for adaptation, which is important given significant underfunding of adaptation globally. However, recent cuts to the UK’s overseas aid are undermining these commitments.

In a separate comment, it said the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point Plan was an important statement of ambition, but it has yet to be backed with firm policies. 

Baroness Brown, Chair of the Adaptation Committee said: “The UK is leading in diagnosis but lagging in policy and action. This cannot be put off further. We cannot deliver Net Zero without serious action on adaptation. We need action now, followed by a National Adaptation Programme that must be more ambitious; more comprehensive; and better focussed on implementation than its predecessors, to improve national resilience to climate change.”

Priority recommendations for 2021 include setting out capacity and usage requirements for Energy from Waste consistent with plans to improve recycling and waste prevention, and issue guidance to align local authority waste contracts and planning policy to these targets; develop (with DIT) the option of applying either border carbon tariffs or minimum standards to imports of selected embedded-emission-intense industrial and agricultural products and fuels; and implement a public engagement programme about national adaptation objectives, acceptable levels of risk, desired resilience standards, how to address inequalities, and responsibilities across society. 

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said the report is another reminder that if the UK is to meet its ambitious climate targets there is an urgent need to scale up bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

"As the world’s leading generator and supplier of sustainable bioenergy there is no better place to deliver BECCS at scale than at Drax in the UK. We are ready to invest in and deliver this world-leading green technology, which would support clean growth in the north of England, create tens of thousands of jobs and put the UK at the forefront of combatting climate change."

Drax Group is kickstarting the planning process to build a new underground pumped hydro storage power station – more than doubling the electricity generating capacity at its iconic Cruachan facility in Scotland. The 600MW power station will be located inside Ben Cruachan – Argyll’s highest mountain – and increase the site’s total capacity to 1.04GW (click here).

Lockdown measures led to a record decrease in UK emissions in 2020 of 13% from the previous year. The largest falls were in aviation (-60%), shipping (-24%) and surface transport (-18%). While some of this change could persist (e.g. business travellers accounted for 15-25% of UK air passengers before the pandemic), much is already rebounding with HGV and van travel back to pre-pandemic levels, while car use, which at one point was down by two-thirds, only 20% below pre-pandemic levels.

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