Formula E will adapt a dynamic wireless recharging technology

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 24, 2013

There’s a possibility that on the second year of the Formula E series, it will adapt a dynamic wireless recharging technology that could significantly change the nature of electric-powered auto racing. It’s believed that this technology will boost the appeal of Formula E, particularly among the younger, tech-savvy buyers who are the leading targets for automakers who sell models like the Nissan Leaf and Fiat 500e.

The promoters of Formula E have forecasted that those who follow the series would later buy their own electric cars. Formula E, an FIA-sanctioned series set to launch in the fall of 2014, will start with every team making use of replacement cars in two-segment races.

Recently, there was confirmation of a partnership with Qualcomm that talks of a plan to use the telecommunications company's Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging system, which will allow a single car to be recharged to run the complete race.

Halo makes use of resonant magnetic induction to shift energy between a ground-based pad and a charging pad on the electric vehicle. This is the same as wireless charging that some electronic devices (such as mobile phones) already use.

To charge, drivers only have to park on top of the base pad. But for Formula E, the plans will be changed to allow drivers to simply drive over the recharging pads. They won’t have to stop and wait.

Qualcomm stated that a row of charging pads will be built into the surface of the racetrack. How long the recharging is hasn’t been determined yet but we know that as the car moves over the pads, they’re activated and the wireless recharging begins.

Formula E races will take place on temporary street circuits but sources said that the pads may remain and could be used by public or private vehicles.

Formula E's safety cars will use the Halo system in the inaugural season. It’s not clear at this point if the physical characteristics of the charging pads would make them unsuitable as a racing surface or if there’s a limit on vehicle’s speed as it passes over the pads. The recharging process may take place by redirecting the car to a "charging lane," with the dynamic process similar to a traditional pit stop.

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