Could NZ embrace wireless EV charging tech?

Wednesday, 26 June, 2024

Could NZ embrace wireless EV charging tech?

Researchers from the University of Auckland have explored the attitudes of New Zealand drivers towards wireless charging for electric vehicles (EVs).

Dynamic wireless charging technology would allow EVs to charge while in motion, offering a promising solution to the limitations of fixed charging stations. While the technology is not yet available to road users, the researchers sought to find out what the uptake might be through a survey of 1150 existing and prospective EV drivers.

The study, by doctoral candidate Ramesh Majhi, senior lecturer Prakash Ranjitkar (Faculty of Engineering) and senior research fellow Selena Sheng (Business School), revealed that 93% of survey respondents were optimistic about dynamic wireless charging technology and would like to try it in the future.

The main advantage of wireless charging, according to those surveyed, is its convenience, which has the potential to transform the present charging experience by complementing stationary charging stations.

“Dynamic wireless charging may not be practical for meeting urban transportation demands. However, it offers significant advantages for intercity travel by reducing EV drivers’ reliance on plug-in charging stations that often cause detours on highways,” Majhi said.

Dynamic wireless charging. Image courtesy of the University of Auckland.

The survey found that people who prioritise sustainability were more inclined to support and use dynamic wireless EV charging, as were urban users when compared to their rural counterparts.

Various social influences, including the behaviour and choices of peers, were also found to affect drivers’ decisions to use the tech.

Despite a majority of respondents being positive about wireless EV charging, the survey revealed concerns about data privacy, electromagnetic radiation and the potential costs associated with the adoption and use of wireless in-road technology.

Sheng said the study insights are crucial for developing effective measures and policies for the successful integration of dynamic wireless charging into the transportation network. “The movement toward adopting EVs for their sustainability in reducing greenhouse gas emissions faces hurdles regarding inadequate charging infrastructure,” she said.

“This is where in-road charging lanes will be of benefit, and it’s essential for policymakers to know how best to manage the rollout of this kind of technology in future and to ensure people’s concerns are understood, and hopefully alleviated.”

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