ORNL scientists using magnets to recharge electric cars

4:49 PM, Nov 30, 2010   |    comments
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Scientists at Oak Ridge National Lab are applying basics of magnets and electricity helping to recharge electric vehicles.

Inductive Power Transfer Stations created at ORNL use electricity to create a magnetic field. "That magnetic field when it's sitting with proximity to another wire will induce the reverse. The magnetic field will actually induce a current in the other wire and you can use that current to now flow into the battery charger," said Deputy Director for the Power Electronics and Electrical Power Systems Research Center at ORNL Laura Marlino.

The concept uses off the shelf components and a standard household power source. If the magnets were mounted to the bottom of your car, you could park over the charging pad in a parking lot. "Our demonstration unit here is mounted vertically, ultimately it would be laying flat on the floor, explained ORNL researcher Matt Scudiere.

Today electric cars have to be plugged into a charger, but the electric vehicle industry is looking to implement the magnetic chargers soon.

Scientists hope that one day you would be able to re-charge an electric car by just merging into a charging lane. "This represents the next step in that technology to enable wireless charging. Throwing a mat down in the floor of your garage, driving your car over it, your plug in hybrid or your EV, electric vehicle, and wirelessly charging it. So in the morning you get up, you're ready to go," said Marlino.

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