Momentum Dynamics has been selected by Volvo Cars as its wireless charging partner for a three-year program in Gothenburg to investigate the potential of wireless charging for electric taxis operating within a live city environment.

The program, which is part of the Gothenburg Green City Zone initiative, will assess a small fleet of specially modified fully electric Volvo XC40 Recharge cars put in service as taxis. The taxis will be driven for more than 12 hours a day and 100,000 km per year, providing a real-world durability demonstration of the electric taxis in a commercial use scenario.

Under the Gothenburg Green City Zone, designated areas within the city are used as live testbeds for the development of sustainable technologies. “This lets us try exciting new technologies in a real environment and evaluate them over time for a potential future broader introduction,” said Mats Moberg, head of Research and Development at Volvo. “Testing new charging technologies together with selected partners is a good way to evaluate alternative charging options for our future cars.”

The trial will run for a three-year period, in which Cabonline, the largest taxi operator in the Nordic region, will use wireless charging stations placed at two ranks in Sweden’s second city.

In use the charging starts automatically when the adapted taxi is located over a charging pad embedded in the taxi rank. Automatic inductive charging works by sending energy through a transmitter placed on the ground, allowing cars to be charged by positioning their receiver plate above it. The taxis will utilise an onboard camera to guide drivers to the charging position.

Driver and customer feedback collected during the test period will give insights on ways to further improve the charging experience.

“This is a technology breakthrough moment in the development of wireless charging for all communities,” said Momentum Dynamics CEO Andy Daga. “Automated charging provides unlimited driving range for high intensity driving and our system enables Gothenburg cab drivers to stay in revenue service all day. This project perfectly outlines the automatic electric taxi charging model for any city looking to implement zero emission transportation as well as use by passenger vehicles.”

In addition to Momentum Dynamics, other partners involved in the wireless charging project include Swedish dealership group Volvo Bil, Sweden-based energy company Vattenfall and its charging network InCharge, the municipal energy company Göteborg Energi and the municipal business development agency Business Region Gothenburg.