Nissan Wants Electric Cars to Charge Up While You Drive

Nissan Nuvu concept. Images via Nissan USA

If plugging in your EV every night strikes you as a hassle-and-a-half, Nissan may have you covered. The Guardian has reported that Nissan is working on induction charging for electric cars, meaning no direct physical contact between vehicle and charging node. Nissan is investigating induction charging for stationary applications such as in a garage or parking spot. But the company is also looking at embedding plates into roadways, so that battery powered cars could charge while driving.

Induction charging is already a common technology in products ranging from electric toothbrushes and razors to kitchen cooktops and artificial hearts. In fact, the EV1 used inductive charging via a paddle that was inserted into a slot, and the Palm Pre will have an inductive charging option as well. Induction hasn't, however, been commercialized for electric cars in nearly as ambitious a way as Nissan is suggesting. The Guardian quotes David Bott, director of innovation programs at the Technology Strategy Board as saying: "If you look at handheld gadgets, inductive charging is a proven technology--the fundamental science says that it will work. I suspect you'll end up plugging electric cars in at night for efficiency, and by day using inductive for on-the-go recharging."

Induction charging certainly has a ways to go and many questions to answer: what will it do to other devices, are there health risks from long-term exposure, what if you have an artificial heart (which is also powered by induction), not to mention how much efficiency might be lost in transmission? The electromagnophobes are going to freak, that's for sure.

More pertinent is the exciting unveiling of Nissan's mass-market electric car. As the world salivated over the Tesla Roadster and Chevy Volt, Nissan was busy developing a fully-electric, affordable family car. On August 1st, 2009, at its brand-spanking headquarters in Yokohama, Nissan will pull back the veil and show the car's final design to the world. All we know at the moment about its shape is that it will be a well-equipped five-passenger hatchback. The drivetrain has been in testing and demonstration for some time, packed into the body of a Denki Cube (I wrote about the car over at MSN Autos and more recently got to drive it in Tennessee).

This lucky writer will be there in Yokohama to see and drive the new Nissan, which will be for sale in the US next year and worldwide by 2012. Stay tuned for dispatches. Via Gas 2.0
More on the Nissan EV
Ghosn: Nissan to Introduce Electric Car in 2010, Mass-Production in 2012
A Special Peek Inside Nissan's Battery R&D; Laboratory
Nissan Electric Cars are Coming to Your Town! (Planet Green)
Nissan and San Diego Gas & Electric's Electric Car Program Shows Promise

Tags: Batteries | Electric Cars | Electricity | Electric Vehicles | Japan | Rechargeable

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