DOE Issues FOA for Wireless Charging of Electric Vehicles

April 09, 2012 by Jeff Shepard

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), on behalf of the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Vehicle Technologies (VT) Program, has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled "Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles."

The mission of the VT program is to develop more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly technologies for highway transportation vehicles (cars and trucks) that will meet or exceed performance expectations and environmental requirements, and enable America to use significantly less petroleum and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The VT program focuses on highway vehicles, which account for 55 percent of total U.S. oil use – more than all U.S. domestic oil production. Cost-competitive, more energy-efficient and fuel diverse vehicles will enable individuals and businesses to accomplish their daily tasks while reducing consumption of gasoline and diesel fuels. This will reduce U.S. demand for petroleum, lower carbon emissions, and decrease energy expenditures.

The objective of this FOA is to research and develop a production-feasible wireless charging system, integrate the system into a production-intent vehicle, and to demonstrate the technology’s readiness to deliver the benefits of static (and possibly quasi-dynamic) wireless charging to drivers of light-duty (10,000 lb Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or less) Grid-Connected Electric Drive Vehicles (GCEDV). While the primary focus of this project is the advancement of static and possibly quasi-dynamic charging, the Department of Energy (DOE) recognizes that the research and demonstration results of this FOA may contribute to the future development of dynamic charging capability. This project shall demonstrate wireless charging technology while being cost competitive, energy efficient, and compliant with safety standards. All applications shall address the three (3) technical Phases as contained in the discussions below.

Over the three-year period of this activity, applicants that are selected for participation will each develop and/or refine their wireless charging technology, integrate the technology into a light duty GCEDV, and test the performance in a demonstration fleet comprised of at least five (5) vehicles. Each demonstration vehicle shall have a complete on board wireless charging system and shall also have a wireless charging station for each vehicle in the demonstration phase of this project. Each applicant shall perform laboratory and real world testing of the systems and vehicles. During the final year of the program period, the technology will be independently evaluated by DOE National Laboratories. This National Laboratory testing and evaluation will be funded directly by DOE through agreements with the National Laboratories and will not be considered a cost to this project. It is highly encouraged that the proposing applicant team includes a wireless charging technology developer partnered with a vehicle manufacturer currently producing vehicles in the United States, with either the vehicle or wireless charging technology developer as the lead. Teaming with suppliers, universities, national laboratories, utilities, etc. is encouraged if it benefits the technology development and final product.

The wireless charging system shall be integrated into a production-intent light duty GCEDV during Phase II and in Phase III shall be demonstrated in at least five (5) vehicles and five (5) wireless charging stations. The demonstration vehicles shall be production-intent light duty vehicles (10,000 lb Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or less) with the expectation that the vehicle and wireless charging system shall be produced within one year of project completion. The GCEDVs include Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EREV), and Electric Vehicles (EV). The PHEVs and EREVs must incorporate electrical energy storage sufficient to provide at least 10 miles of all-electric range, i.e., cumulative vehicle movement with the engine off, on the Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule (UDDS). The EVs must have a minimum electric range of 80 miles. The vehicles shall meet all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards and emissions requirements.

Tasks include advanced wireless charging technology design, fabrication, integration, and validation of the wireless charger integrated into a light duty GCEDV using standard practice for production-intent vehicles. The system shall be demonstrated at the conclusion of each phase. At the conclusion of Phase I, the wireless charging system shall be tested to demonstrate performance and functionality of the full-scale system with DOE observers present for the final testing. At the conclusion of Phase II, DOE observers shall be present for verification testing of the system integrated into the production-intent vehicle. Within the first three (3) months of Phase III, a vehicle and wireless charging system shall be provided to DOE for testing at a DOE national laboratory for the duration of Phase III.

The wireless charging system developed shall include the following requirements for the design input: 1) a power transfer efficiency greater than 85%, 2) nominal power transfer of at least 3.3 kW, and 3) a gap spacing and alignment flexibility over a reasonable range, consistent with conditions that would be experienced in real-world conditions. The calculated power transfer efficiency shall be based on measured input power at the wall source and measured output power at the GCEDV high voltage direct current (DC) bus. The minimum nominal power transfer is 3.3 kW, however, higher power transfer is encouraged. Applicants proposing systems with a nominal power transfer of less than 3.3 kW will be deemed non-responsive to this announcement and will NOT be considered for comprehensive merit review. The efficiency, power, and gap flexibility metrics shall be demonstrated at the conclusion of Phase I and Phase II.

Each applicant shall integrate and demonstrate the technology in at least five (5) vehicles under on-road real world operation. The demonstration shall include at least five (5) wireless charging stations. The testing shall evaluate performance parameters to assess operational safety, convenience, reliability, flexibility, interoperability, efficiency, life-cycle costs, use patterns, and range capabilities. The applicant shall provide a test plan for Phase III demonstration activities in their application. In addition, applicants may also incorporate refinements or upgrades to the system using information learned from the demonstration and retrofit the device into one of the five demonstration vehicles. Applicants proposing to perform upgrades and development in Phase III shall provide a development plan in the application. Raw data from the demonstration tests shall be provided to a DOE specified DOE National Laboratory at regular intervals. One of the five (5) vehicles and its wireless charger system shall be provided to DOE for laboratory and real world on-road testing for the duration of Phase III. Vehicles must include provisions to access pertinent messages on the vehicle controller area network (CAN) for the purpose of data logging during laboratory testing and fleet evaluations.

The wireless charging system cost is a challenge and cost reduction shall be considered throughout the project. At the conclusion of Phase I, the applicant shall have conducted a production cost analysis for the wireless chargers. A more detailed cost analysis shall be performed in Phase II to determine the commercial viability and cost benefits, including a comparison with a plug-in SAE 1772 compliant conductive charging system. This analysis shall be a complete cost analysis, including the elements of the wireless charging system both on and off the vehicle. This shall include an analysis of the expected market penetration and the potential petroleum reduction.

The project shall include three phases as defined below, with go/no-go decisions at the conclusion of Phase I and Phase II. Failure to meet the success criteria at the end of each phase as outlined below will result in the project not moving forward into the subsequent phase. The phases include technology development, technology integration, and technology demonstration.

Applicants with technologies considered by the applicant to be ready for Phase II integration may submit an application proposing to begin their project at the Phase II stage. However, they must present evidence that all aspects and requirements of Phase I have been successfully met, including the achievement of the power and efficiency requirements as outlined in the Phase I success criteria. Applicants by-passing Phase I shall demonstrate performance and functionality of the wireless charging system with DOE observers present at the beginning of Phase II to verify all Phase I requirements have been met.

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