UK aims to lead in EV smart wireless charging
January 10, 2019
A UK project aims to demonstrate the financial, operational and technical benefits of smart wireless charging for electric taxis and emergency service vehicles.
The WiCET (Wireless Charging for Electric Taxis) project is led by Cenex, the UK centre of excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies, and is funded by Innovate UK.
WiCET aims to help the UK lead the electric vehicle revolution ands supports the ambitions of the UK government’s Road to Zero Emissions strategy, as well as attracting inward investment to the UK from international companies.
“WiCET is a unique and exciting project that has the potential to transform how commercial electric vehicles are charged, accelerating their uptake and supporting the decarbonisation of the UK transport sector,” said Robert Evans, CEO of Cenex. “It brings together world leaders in EV technology, infrastructure and services and aims to demonstrate practical business cases for wireless charging in the taxi sector.”
The project’s first phase will involve a feasibility study to assess the potential for EV taxi wireless charging. The consortium is then eligible to apply for further Innovate UK funding for a large-scale commercial demonstrator project to deploy its technology and approach at locations within Nottingham and London.
Cenex will manage the project, independently assess the use case scenarios and develop the business case. Cenex will work closely with WiCET’s other project partners, technology provider IHI, Parking Energy, Nottingham City Council, Transport for London (TfL) and academic partner WMG, at the University of Warwick.
IHI will provide its wireless charging technology, with Parking Energy contributing its back-office system to manage EV charging, WMG will be focusing on the user experience and engagement with taxi operators, and Nottingham City Council and TfL will provide guidance on suitable locations for the phase two demonstrators and advice on planning, procurement and regulatory issues. The international partners will add further value through inward investment in the UK, as well as contributing their technology and expertise.
“We believe that electrifying the taxi industry is both financially viable and promises to deliver significant benefits in terms of air quality,” said Mikko Summala, managing director of Parking Energy. “By showing the feasibility of wireless charging, project WiCET offers a significant opportunity to accelerate the electrification of taxi fleets, encourage growth and increase investment in the wireless charging market.”
The first phase of the project begins this month and will last for three months. WiCET brings together the entire wireless charging value chain do it can understand how to accelerate wireless charging, such as by identifying the routes to market for retrofit and factory option products for electric vehicles.
“Wireless charging has the potential to provide economic benefits as well as being convenient for EV taxi services,” said Teruyuki Kadooka, managing director of IHI in Europe. “The first phase of project WiCET aims to study a sustainable business case to apply to one of the most advanced demonstrations of wireless electric vehicle charging in the world. We believe that this technology will be vital as part of the social infrastructure for the widespread use of EV taxis. WiCET positions the UK as an international leader when it comes to demonstrating this potential by providing a testbed for future global projects.”
WMG is a research and education group and an academic department of the University of Warwick, established by Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in 1980 to reinvigorate UK manufacturing through the application of research and effective knowledge transfer.
“WMG are delighted to be leading the user experience and stakeholder engagement aspects of the WiCET project,” said Stewart Birrell, associate professor at WMG. “Wireless charging of electric vehicles offers many potential benefits to the end user. However, in order for these benefits to be realised, these requirements need to be captured and designed into the technical solutions from the outset.”
Cenex operates as an independent not-for-profit consultancy and research organisation. It specialises in the delivery of projects that support innovation and market development to accelerate the shift to a low emission economy. By encouraging the early market adoption of low emission and fuel cell technologies in automotive applications, Cenex aims to assist the UK automotive supply chain with competing in global markets, as well as showcasing UK expertise to encourage inward investment.
Parking Energy is an EV infrastructure and charging services provider in a real estate environment. The company specialises in electric vehicle charging technology for large scale parking at residential and commercial properties and parking operators. Parking Energy was established in 2014 and operates Europe-wide from three bases in Helsinki, London and Munich.