Wireless power transfer was first demonstrated by Nicola Tesla about 120 years ago. The technology was recently adopted for possible transportation applications. This special issue of the IEEE TEC Newsletter gathers three articles focusing on the update of technology development for electric vehicle charging with different wireless power transfer technologies including the inductive power transfer, capacitive power transfer, and roadway power transfer. These articles intend to cover some interesting and important aspects including the historical development, technology fundamentals, and technical barriers. The major takeaway is what lies in the future for research and development and for the market acceptance.

As I start the 2nd year of my term as Chair of the IEEE Transportation Electrification Community (TEC) I would like to share with you some of our great accomplishments made in the past year, as well as, plans for this current year. 

When I took over the chair position, it was time to reflect on what TEC has done since its inception and how TEC can sustain and expand its operations moving forward. Our leadership team, the Steering Committee recognized the need for developing a strategic plan with priority goals that can be implemented. Therefore, we conducted a strategic planning exercise by kicking off the initiative at our annual face-to-face meeting in June 2017.


Fei Lu, Chris Mi
San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

1. Introduction


Capacitive power transfer (CPT) technology is an effective and important alternative to the conventional inductive power transfer (IPT) [1]-[2]. It utilizes high-frequency electric fields to transfer power, which mainly owes three advantages: negligible eddy-current loss, relatively low cost and weight, and considerable misalignment performance [3]. In recent years, the power level and efficiency of a CPT system has been significantly improved, which have been suitable for electric vehicle charging applications [4]. This paper reviews the latest developments in CPT technology, focusing on two key technologies: the compensation circuit topology and the capacitive coupler structure. The fundamental working principle of the CPT system is also presented, which provides the guidelines for the future research. Based on these analyses, the applications of the CPT technology can be promoted. The structure of a CPT system in the electric vehicle charging application is shown in Fig. 1.

Seog Y. Jeong
Dept. of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea

Chun T. Rim
Graduate Program of Energy Technology, GIST, Gwangju, Korea

1. Introduction

The biggest challenge to the commercialization of electric vehicles (EVs) is the battery, which is still heavy, bulky, and expensive even though it has been commercialized for EVs more than 100 years ago. Roadway powered electric vehicles (RPEVs), which is powered directly from a road during transport, are quite promising candidates for future transportation of passenger cars, buses, trucks, and trains, even in competition with internal combustion engines because they do not require large battery energy storage for their traction [1]-[9]. A brief history of RPEVs is described in this article from its advent developments in 1890s to cutting-edge technologies now. Important technical issues in inductive power transfer systems (IPTSs) among wireless power transfer systems (WPTSs) are addressed. Major milestones of the development of RPEVs, focusing on on-line electric vehicles (OLEVs) that have been recently commercialized, are summarized.


Grant Covic and John Boys


The development of wireless charging systems for electric vehicles has gained significant momentum over the past decade. Part of this is based on the desire of cities to push away from petrol and diesel powered vehicles to help provide cleaner cities, given the intense urbanization which is occurring globally, and partly because electric vehicles are becoming more efficient and cost competitive. With wireless charging systems properly integrated into vehicles, and situated strategically around a city as well as at owners’ homes there should be no need to ever plug in their vehicles. Drivers should simply park as usual over a coil placed on the ground or buried in it.   However adopting this technology also has the potential to solve a number of real and perceived problems.  One of these is that today’s younger generation expects to be unshackled.  There is a natural desire to have the world at its finger tips and to be able to move and yet stay connected.  Yet it was not that long ago that cities and the country side were filled with telephone boxes, and queuing to make a telephone call while being tethered to a wired receiver was not uncommon. Today tethering for most communication needs would be unpalatable for most applications except for high speed internet and certainly not for basic internet or communication needs, while the idea of having to queue to make a call would send most customers to another network provider. The analogy for electric vehicles is obvious. Today plug in charging is common but in the future will become the domain of high power fast charging where necessary.  The idea of queuing for such power is generally undesirable, and with sufficient wireless power charging systems, should be unnecessary in future cities.  

About the Newsletter

Ali Bazzi

The Transportation Electrification eNewsletter studies topics that span across four main domains: Terrestrial (land based), Nautical (Ocean, lakes and bodies of water), Aeronautical (Air and Space) and Commercial-Manufacturing. Main topics include: Batteries including fuel cells, Advanced Charging, Telematics, Systems Architectures that include schemes for both external interface (electric utility) and vehicle internal layout, Drivetrains, and the Connected Vehicle.

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Click here for the June 2018 Call for Articles and Submission Guidelines.