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Cutting the cord: A new way to charge electric vehicles

New technology that can be embedded into existing infrastructure allows electric vehicles to automatically charge wirelessly while parked.

Transport and Mobility
Climate Change and Environment

The future may be electric, but runs the risk of getting tangled up in power cords. Electric vehicles (EVs) are typically charged by plugging into a charging station. This works well for the limited number of EVs on the road today, but as the number of EVs and the distance they can travel grows, there will be an increasing need for autonomous charging. For Easelink, an Austrian high-tech company, that means cutting the cord and going fully automatic. With the support of EU funding, the company has developed Matrix Charging, an automated conductive charging technology for EVs. “Meeting the demand of the rising number of electric vehicles requires us to rethink our charging infrastructure,” says Easelink founder and managing director Hermann Stockinger. “Matrix Charging answers this call by enabling an automated, area-wide charging network that facilitates the use of renewable energy and supports autonomous driving.”

Wireless charging

The Matrix Charging system consists of two main components: a connector attached to the vehicle’s underbody, and a pad embedded in the parking space. “As soon as an equipped EV parks above the pad, the connector is lowered to the pad, initiating the conductive connection,” explains Stockinger. According to Stockinger, not only does this system answer the need for convenient, automated charging, it also allows for an increase in the EV’s connection time with the grid, which in turn helps control energy demand. “The technology can be integrated flush into the parking ground and thus eliminates charging piles and cords,” he adds. “Our system also gives cities the ability to roll out a charging network within already existing infrastructure.” With EU support, the company was able to advance its Matrix Charging technology from prototype to market readiness. To do this, the company conducted extensive piloting in various use cases, including company fleets and car-sharing services. “By cooperating with representatives from leading automotive manufacturers and suppliers, grid and fleet operators, and city planners, we were able to successfully address the vehicle and infrastructure requirements needed to implement automated charging networks,” remarks Stockinger. In anticipation of marketisation, the company has also taken steps to align its Matrix Charging with international standards for autonomous charging, including the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). “Automated charging devices for passenger cars are a cutting-edge technology that are not yet sufficiently covered by existing standards,” says Stockinger. “Our participation in these organisations allows us to play a leading role in the development of standards for automated conductive charging.”

The smart charging revolution

As a result of the project, Easelink has firmly positioned its Matrix Charging technology within the lucrative automotive and infrastructure industries. “Matrix Charging is more than a convenient solution, it’s the basis for a revolutionary smart charging network – one that can be easily integrated into existing infrastructure and facilitates the use of renewable energy,” concludes Stockinger. Easelink is currently working with leading automotive manufacturers and suppliers to perform the serial development of Matrix Charging. The team also continues to pilot and conduct demonstrations in different operating environments around the world.

Keywords

Matrix Charging, electric vehicles, EVs, electric, charging station, renewable energy, Easelink, automatic, infrastructure, autonomous driving, automotive manufacturers

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