Way of the future? Norway’s capital to charge electric taxis wirelessly via charging plate built into road
Wireless charging for electric vehicles has been touted as the next important step forward for electric vehicles, other than the search for longer-lasting batteries.
And now the Norwegian capital Oslo has become the first city in the world to install wireless charging systems for electric taxis.
Wireless charging for cars is not a new development. It was back in 2016 for example when the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) successfully demonstrated a 20-kilowatt wireless electric car charging system that claimed to have achieved 90 percent efficiency.
The idea of wireless charging a car is a convenience issue, as removing the need to plug in the car to charge it up (potentially on the go) would greatly increase its convenience.
Finnish utility Fortum said that the Oslo project will utilise induction technology, with charging plates installed in the road at taxi ranks linking to receivers installed in the vehicle. This allows for charging up to 75 kilowatts, it said.
Fortum said it is working with American firm Momentum Dynamics, as well as the City of Oslo on the scheme.
It said that the greatest hurdle for electrification of taxis had so far been the infrastructure, as it is too time consuming for cabbies to find a charger, plug in, then wait for the car to charge.
“The wireless fast-charging project aims to solve these issues and thereby reduce climate emissions from the taxi sector – not only in Norway, but in the entire world,” said Fortum.
“We will install the wireless chargers at taxi stands, such as the one at the Oslo Central Station,” said Annika Hoffner, Head of Fortum Charge & Drive.
“Taxis will be able to drive up to the charger and a wireless charging session will automatically start,” said Hoffner. “This allows the taxis to charge in a place where they would anyway be waiting for new customers. The difference is that they won’t be emitting exhaust while waiting, instead they will be receiving renewable energy to charge the taxi’s battery.”
From 2023 onward all taxis in Oslo will have to be zero emission, and Norway wants all new cars to be zero emission by 2025.
The UK’s zero emission target for new cars is 2040 in comparison.
“Wireless charging is a potential game changer,” said Sture Portvik, the City of Oslo’s Electro Mobility Manager. “From 2023 onward, all taxis in Oslo will be zero emission. Together with the taxi industry we will make sure that the shift is as user friendly and efficient as possible.”
“We believe this project will provide the world with the model it needs for keeping electric taxis in continuous 24/7 operation,” explained CEO Andrew Daga of Momentum Dynamics. “It will build on the success we have demonstrated with electric buses, which also need to be automatically charged throughout the day in order to stay in operation.”