Volvo Takes on Wireless Charging Pilot for Taxis

Volvo is reviving the idea of wireless charging for BEVs running a pilot to test the system in live traffic environments.

Planned to run for three years, the pilot will see a small fleet of BEV Volvo XC40 Recharge cars used as taxis by Cabonline, the largest taxi operator in the Nordic region, and charged wirelessly at stations in Gothenburg, Sweden. The wireless charging test is one of many projects outlined within the strategic initiative Gothenburg Green City Zone, under which designated areas within the city are used as live test beds for the development of sustainable technologies.

The charging stations used are operated by Momentum Dynamics, a provider of wireless electric charging systems. The charging starts automatically when a compatible vehicle parks over a charging pad embedded in the street, allowing drivers to have vehicles charged without getting out of the car.

Energy is sent through the charging pad, which is picked up by a receiver unit in the car. To align the car with the charging pad, Volvo will use its 360-degree camera system. For the fully electric XC40 Recharge cars, the wireless charging power will be more than 40kW, making the charging speeds around four times faster than a wired 11kW AC charger and almost as fast as a wired 50kW DC fast charger.

In total, the cars will be used for more than 12 hours a day and drive 60,000 miles per year, which also makes this durability test of use for commercial operators to reference. Other partners involved in the wireless charging project include the company’s own Swedish retailers Volvo Bil and Volvo Car Sörred, Swedish energy company Vattenfall and its charging network InCharge, the city energy company Göteborg Energi, and Business Region Gothenburg, a municipal economic development agency owned by the City of Gothenburg.

Mats Moberg, head of research and development at Volvo Cars, said: “Gothenburg Green City Zone lets us try exciting new technologies in a real environment and evaluate them over time for a potential future broader introduction. Testing new charging technologies together with selected partners is a good way to evaluate alternative charging options for our future cars.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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