ORNL Working to Charge Cars On the Fly

ORNL researchers believe cars could be charged while on the highway. Image courtesy ORNL
ORNL researchers believe cars could be charged while on the highway. Image courtesy ORNL

Oak Ridge National Lab has been working on getting rid of power cords for all kinds of chargeable devices. Scientists are now close to commercializing wireless chargers for electric cars.

There’s no plug with the ORNL design. Equipment is buried under the pavement. It automatically links up over the air when an electric car pulls into a parking space.

Researcher John Miller says wireless car charging is just the first step. Charging on-the-go is the ultimate goal.

“You would have the equivalent of the stationary wireless charging – as we call it – but have that on an energized section of roadway where as you’re going, as you’re commuting, that you would have the equivalent of an HOV lane, and you would charge on the fly.”</strong

Miller says mobile charging could be a game changer for electric vehicles, since anxiety about the range of cars like the Nissan LEAF has been a turn-off for many buyers.

Automotive manufacturers will soon be named as partners on the Oak Ridge project. Miller says they will be expected to help finance the first pilot projects.

Blake Farmer

Blake Farmer is WPLN's assistant news director, but he wears many hats - reporter, editor and host. He covers the Tennessee state capitol while also keeping an eye on Fort Campbell and business trends, frequently contributing to national programs. Born in Tennessee and educated in Texas, Blake has called Nashville home for most of his life.
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