File photo dated 23/8/2019 of traffic along the M3 motorway near to Winchester in Hampshire.

Wireless charging motorways need careful energy management for affordability

Image credit: PA Wire/PA Images Picture by: Andrew Matthews

Motorways that provide wireless charging to electric cars would need to minimise energy costs through efficient pricing systems to make them affordable for operators, according to researchers at Cornell University in New York.

Wireless charging technology that is built into roads has been trialled a number of times in the past and is considered to be one possible solution to “range anxiety” in electric vehicles.

Today, it takes a lot of time to charge an electric vehicle and a car’s range may only be a few hundred miles. With wireless charging lanes, a driver may simply move into the charging lane, much like today’s high-occupancy vehicles move into special lanes (in the United States) to avoid dense traffic.

“Electrifying transportation is great, since you can eliminate carbon emissions,” said senior author Oliver Gao. “You can energise your car while driving in the charging lane. But if you’re managing a charging highway that can provide energy to cars, you’re buying and selling electricity on an industrial scale. We’re trying to suggest a smart business strategy.”

Electricity prices can change drastically within a day, requiring an efficient bidding strategy to minimise the energy cost for operators of wireless charging roads.

The new research is based on designing a competitive, price-sensitive demand bidding strategy for wireless charging road owners who have electricity storage capacity.

The paper suggests using an algorithm to predict the real-time electricity load on a charging highway, in order to evaluate a price forecast and electricity availability.

The proposed bidding strategy not only reduces the energy cost for operating a wireless charging road but helps to alleviate electricity load pressure on a power network.

“Our paper comes from the perspective of running a gas station,” Gao said. “If you’re running a charging highway – or if you get the contract to run a charging highway – you’re buying electricity and you’re selling electricity. It’s dynamic. You either buy an hour ahead of time and then you sell it one hour later or you bid on electricity, you submit your bid, buy it and then you sell it.”

“Cost reduction in operating wireless charging roads is likely to attract more investment in constructing these roads and lower the corresponding charging price – promoting overall electric vehicle adoption.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that experimental technology designed to cool equipment in space could cut down the time needed to charge an electric vehicle to five minutes or less.

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