Tech firm Sprint Power has developed a wireless charging service for electric vehicles which will be trialled in Nottingham next month.
The government-backed trials will look to assess the suitability of wireless charging technology, with the tests being carried out on a range of electrified taxis.
Sprint Power is developing an electrical distribution system (EDS), a power distribution module (PDM), and a high voltage harness assembly that will enable a fleet of electric taxis to charge wirelessly via pads attached to the ground. The system works by automatically recognising which power source to draw current from, with each vehicle featuring both wireless and plug-in charging capability.
Ten modified LEVC TX and Nissan Dynamo electric taxis will be trialled in the scheme in which drivers will transport members of the public in real-world tests for a period of six months. The trial will capture information such as journey distances and battery performance data, while drivers will report back on their experiences using the technology.
The first prototype taxis will begin testing the wireless charging technology next month, with all ten vehicles due on-road from early autumn. Members of the public will be able to spot the special taxis by their distinctive livery, while passengers can learn more about how the technology works via posters located inside each vehicle.
Founder and CEO of Sprint Power, Richie Frost, commented: “We are delighted to be part of this pioneering project and are on track to deliver these custom-built products in time for the taxis hitting the streets of Nottingham. I firmly believe this exciting project not only demonstrates Sprint Power’s technical and engineering capabilities; it also underscores the importance of wireless charging technology to this country’s shift towards sustainable mobility.”
The WiCET (Wireless Charging of Electric Taxis) trial will demonstrate the commercial and technical viability of inductive charging for electric taxis in medium and large cities. The trial comes as city authorities around the country continue to look at schemes aimed at improving local air quality, reducing noise pollution and cutting carbon emissions.
Funding for the wireless taxi charging project has been awarded by Innovate UK, a non-departmental public body funded by the UK government and designed to drive research and development into new technologies. In addition to Sprint Power, the consortium includes CENEX (Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies), Coventry University, Nottingham City Council, Shell, Parking Energy, and Transport for London.