August 19, 2011

New Electric Vehicle Charging Proposal and Ecodriving plan for 30% better fuel efficiency

Caption: A schematic of the proposed power transfer system for a running automobile. This system transmits electric power thorough a capacitor composed of a steel belt and a metal plate attached to the road, and the power feed in differential mode. Notably, the leakage electromagnetic field is small, and the infrastructure can be set up at low cost compared with coils.

Toyohashi University of Technology (Toyohashi Tech) propose a potentially revolutionary solution for powering EVs capable of running unlimited distances. The basic concept stems from electric railways, where each car of the train is power from an overhead wire while the car runs on tracks. The researchers imagined how an automobile running along a road could do so without resorting to dangerous contacting devices such as pantographs, and finally came up with a profound and novel idea: The source of energy from power lines is up-converted into radio frequency (RF) by high-speed inverters implanted along tracks in the road. The RF voltage is applied to a balanced metal track embedded under the surface of the road. The EV picks up the RF voltage via electrical capacitance between the metal and a steel belt installed inside of the tires of the EV.

Caption: The proposed model and measurement model. As a the measurement model a metallic board were arranged above and below the tire, and the complex impedance was measured. Pieces of styrene foam of different thickness were placed between the upper surface of the tire and metallic plate. The measurement frequency was from 10 kHz to 10 MHz.

Although these were low power experiments, they demonstrate the feasibility of energy transfer from the road to a running automobile. If this energy transfer could be increased to tens of kW on express ways, then in the future it may be possible to take EV from your house to the nearest interchange with a small battery and then cruise on the expressway via this feeder system as far as you want without concern about battery discharge problems.

2. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism announced a draft of new fuel economy standards for cars that will require improvements of 24.1% over 2009 levels by 2020.

The proposed new overall average target for 2020 is 20.3 km per liter [47.8 mpg US; 4.93 L/100km]. Passenger cars will be divided into 15 sub-divisions by weight with the range of target fuel economy levels varying from 10.6 km per liter to 24.6 km per liter [24.9 to 57.9 mpg US; 9.43 to 4.07 L/100km].

This new 2020 target is an improvement of 19.6% over the current 2015 targeted fuel economy figures, and as such it seems that this will require an acceleration in technological innovation to meet these standards.

3. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside along with their research partners have received a $1.2 million grant from the Department of Energy to study and evaluate technologies that provide feedback to drivers so they can cut harmful emissions and reduce fuel use by up to 30 percent. Several small studies, including one at UC Riverside, have found fuel economy improvements in the range of 5 to 15 percent. Larger-scale eco-driving programs in Asia and Europe have shown fuel improvements up to 20 percent.

The project is one of 40 being funded through a more than $175 million Department of Energy program aimed at improving the fuel efficiency of the next generation of vehicles. The projects will help insure the technologies are available to help automakers achieve new fuel efficiency standards.

Last month, President Obama announced automakers will be required to increase fuel economy for cars and light-duty trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. On Tuesday, he announced the first-of-a-kind fuel-efficiency standards for commercial trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles. Fuel consumption will have to be cut by 10 to 20 percent by 2018.

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