Charging Up Nissan's Electric Car Without Wires

induction charging nissan electric car photo
(Image: Jacob Gordon)

We recently heard that Nissan has a keen interest in wireless charging for what will soon be a whole family of electric cars. But in the days leading up to the unveiling of the flagship Leaf EV, I saw this contact-free charging technology with my own eyes. At the same demonstration where I drove the EV platform and saw the iPhone interface, we were shown a working example of induction charging in action. Look ma, no plug!Wireless charging works on the principal of electromagnetic induction, and when two coils (one on the ground and one under the car) come into proximity, a charge can be transfered from a power supply to the battery. It takes a few seconds for the primary and secondary coils to recognize each other, but once they do, the system could charge this small EV in three hours. Nissan engineers assured me that the charging efficiency is as good or better than plugging in, and that induction charging is simple and cheap.

That said, Nissan has no set timeline for commercializing wireless charging, and details of the charging-while-driving concept are even sketchier.

From the diagram pictured below:

The system allows charging an EV without connecting cable, simply by parking it in a designated spot, much like charging an electric toothbrush or shaver. Experiments on non-contact electric-vehicle charging have been conducted in various locations, including Yukarigaoka, Chiba Prefecture, and the cities of Sakai, Osaka, and the cities of Nara, Nara Prefecture.

(Image: Nissan Motor Co.)

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