Look ma, no wires: charging plug-in vehicles, without the plug
Earth2Tech has an interesting post here (hat tip to Katie) about a company called Evatran that has developed a system for charging electric vehicles that doesn’t require a plug or a charging cord. The idea is that you would drive onto a parking block, which would sit permanently in your driveway or a parking spot. Once the front wheels are on the block it will establish a wireless proximity link with the vehicle and begin some form of magnetic induction charging. Now that’s convenient, and it would make it far easy for folks to dump their internal combustion engine vehicle and go electric. The only problem is that this form of charging is inefficient, and the idea of one day having millions of cars charging through this method but throwing away 10, 20 or 30 per cent of the energy for the sake of convenience is a non-starter (unless of course we’ve developed too-cheap-to-meter nuclear fusion and have more emission-free electricity than we need — i.e. a non-starter). Still, if we can get 95-plus per cent efficiencies some day it will be a welcome addition to electric-vehicle infrastructure.
BTW: For anyone looking for the latest assessment of wireless power transfer technology, check out this fairly recent and comprehensive study by the Electric Power Research Institute.