German energy storage systems developer Tesvolt has become a shareholder in Munich-based Stercom Power Solutions, which develops inductive charging technology. The investment aims to accelerate the development of wireless charging and potentially dynamic inductive roads.
Wireless charging involves transferring electrical energy in an inductive process from a magnetic coil in or on the road pavement to a receiver coil in the vehicle. This allows for many short but high-speed charging processes – for example at shopping centres, in multi-storey car parks or even at home. Car makers including Audi and BMW are already installing charging coils in new vehicle models.
“Stercom is a complete technology specialist and one of the first to develop really good products in the field of inductive charging,” explains Simon Schandert, founder and Chief Technical Officer at Tesvolt. “Our aim is to work together to bring highly efficient charging systems to the market and even in the medium term to enable inductive supercharging with up to 200 kW charging power. This would also make it more efficient to charge while driving in the future.”
But the big problem to date is capacity. “So far the only wireless charging suitable for mass-production offers just 3.2 kW. We want to introduce an inductive charging station with a charging power of 44 kW, which is 14 times faster,” explains Daniel Hannemann, founder and Commercial Director at Tesvolt.
Of particular interest to Tesvolt is Stercom’s breakthrough silicon carbide technology that offers 95% efficiency and works at a distance of up to 20 cm between the sender and receiver coils. This says Hannemann is something no other provider has been able to do. Stercom has also developed intelligent charging stations which, for instance, show the driver the right parking position for the vehicle over the magnetic coil.
“Short and frequent charging dispenses with the need for large car batteries. This significantly lowers the price of electric vehicles while making them lighter and therefore more efficient,” says Robert Sterff, founder and CEO at Stercom.
There are still significant challenges when it comes to inductive charging. Short and powerful charges place high demands on batteries and the issue of how to pay for wireless charging is yet to be resolved.
Electric vehicle wireless power transfer systems is still in the development stage, says Sterff. But test sections of road with magnetic coils under the asphalt are already in place in Italy, France and Sweden. “Wireless charging is the future,” concludes Sterff.