If electric cars are going to become mainstream, charging their batteries needs to be as effortless and automatic as a good meditation – sit down, close your eyes, it’s there.
Electric cars could be charged every time they park. Here’s how it could work:
As soon as the car pulls into the parking space and stops, it broadcasts a “hello” signal over short-range wireless data.
The charging unit on the curb receives the broadcast and answers, confirming that both are present.
The car and the charging unit exchange (minimal) necessary information – to assure they are compatible (the system should be as standardized so all cars and all charging stations can work together) and for the identity of the car (for back-office purposes such as record-keeping and, if necessary, billing).
The charging unit arm either rises up from the parking space floor under the car, or extends from the curb and rises up, to contact the car’s charging pad on the underside of the front of the car. The charging arm has limited lateral mobility to allow it to find the charging contact pad on the car. The car charging contact may be protected by a cover, which retracts or opens to allow the charging unit arm to access the car charging pad.
Inductive charging starts and continues as long as the car is parked and turned off.
As soon as a car door is opened, the car notifies the charging unit, which stops charging and retracts. The duration and amount of the charging session are recorded at both ends for back office purposes.
The driver never has to plug the car in, never has to worry about range (unless they are driving cross-country), and never even has to think about charging the car – except when they receive the monthly statement by email or (sometime in the future) thought transmission.
GUESS WHAT – this already exists. It just needs to be deployed as infrastructure.