Nissan Wants To Charge EVs – Minus The Cord
Right now, everyone who is planning to build electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids pretty much agrees on the fact that the best way to charge them is to plug some kind of cord into the side of the car, the same way we do for cell phones, laptops and mp3 players.
Everyone, that is, except for Nissan. Nissan wants to follow the route of the electric toothbrush – that is, invent a way for us to charge EVs (or their EVs, at least), using a wireless charger. Electric toothbrush batteries are refueled by inducing a charge without actually making contact between battery and electricity source. So, too, Nissan hopes that one day we can park electric cars over a scaled-up version of the same charger, and refuel them without lifting a finger.
However, there’s a reason that we only use induction chargers for the occasional piece of technology such as the toothbrush, and don’t use them for most mobile electronic devices (ok, with the exception of the Palm Pre): they take longer to charge, and they are more expensive and complex than a simple wire plug.
Obviously, though, Nissan’s engineers know all that. And Nissan is certainly going to be sticking to conventional plugs for now – they are unveiling their 2012 model EV on August 2, and although they claim that it was designed to be compatible with future induction technology, it will be charged by a regular plug. And Nissan’s partner Renault is busy designing cars to work with Better Place’s system, which most certainly involves a physical cord.
Rather, Nissan is attempting to look into the future. Think of it this way – if you told an AOL user in 1995 that the technology existed to access the internet through a cell phone, it would have likely seemed farfetched and overly expensive. Flash forward to today – it’s still true that the best and fastest internet connections are still tied to PCs, but mobile internet has found its place for people who need to check their email anywhere, and are willing to pay extra for it. Maybe a light, albeit inefficient-and-more-expensive charge for your EV will find a similar place.
In fact, Nissan’s vision goes beyond just parking spots. Nissan sees an even wider system of wireless charging, built into the very roads that we drive on (similar to this Toyota concept), so that we can refuel as we drive. Sound farfetched and inefficient? Perhaps, but what if you got stuck in a traffic jam, and your battery began to dwindle? Would you pay a little extra to be able to charge on the go in those situations?