Volvo's XC40 Recharge Taxi's Could Spearhead Wireless EV Charging Development

Wireless charging technology for EVs has faded into the background until Volvo’s most recent test with EV taxis and wireless charging.
Written by Serena Aburahma
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Mar 25, 2022
Wireless charging for electric vehicles is one of the most potentially game-changing
technologies
in the rise of EVs. One of the biggest hurdles in getting drivers to switch to an EV has been the limited charging options available. 
Companies have been racing to create more efficient and
faster charging stations
to help combat this, but Volvo could have a new solution.
According to
Autoweek
, Volvo is beginning a test of wireless charging for a fleet of electric taxis. If the tests are successful, they could lead to major changes in electric vehicle charging.

Wireless charging failed to catch before

Volvo is not the first company to try wireless charging, but they are the first to try it recently. A decade ago, when EVs had not gained nearly the stake they have today in the market, some predicted wireless charging would be huge. 
The idea behind wireless charging is brilliant and would theoretically be one of the easiest methods to give power to any car, electric or gas. To charge an EV, all a driver would have to do is park on a special charging spot. 
It would be as easy as setting your phone on a wireless charger.
As innovative of an idea as it was, though, wireless charging mostly died off. EVs did not catch on as quickly as wireless charging advocates thought, which meant that technologies associated with them fell to the back burner. 
Ideas have taken inspiration from wireless charging, such as pavement that provides
charging while driving
, but these are few and far between.

How Volvo is hoping to bring back wireless charging

Volvo still sees the potential in wireless charging parking spaces for EVs, though. 
To test the feasibility of this, they have started a pilot program involving a fleet of electric taxis in Gothenburg, Sweden. The taxis are Volvo XC40 Recharge models, and if there was any condition that could test how practical wireless charging is, this is it.
In Gothenburg, the XC40 Recharge taxis operate for 12 hours a day. This means that they would require frequent charging throughout the day and that they would build considerable mileage over time. 
Volvo's test is designed to last three years, so they will gather a lot of data on the practicality of wireless charging.
As for the charging mechanism for this study, Volvo will use Momentum Dynamics wireless charging pads, and cars will charge when parked. Volvo claims that the charging pads provide more than 40 kW, which is significantly more than cars get when plugged in.

What is the future of wireless charging?

For now, wireless charging still has an uphill battle if it is going to grow. Cities that wish to incorporate wireless charging stations may view the project as too costly to justify. Meanwhile, companies that build EV charging technology focus on plug-in charging stations.
Volvo's wireless charging experiment could be a major step in the technology's comeback if it is successful. This could show companies and cities the benefits that wireless charging stations could provide. 

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Wireless charging is a technology that could be big in the future, and Volvo could lead the wireless charging push. At this point though, EV drivers will have to settle for their standard charging. 
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