HEVO and ORNL Plan for 300KW Automated Wireless Vehicle Charging Solution

October 06, 2021 by Antonio Anzaldua Jr.

Is a hands-free electric vehicle (EV) charging in the midst? The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has licensed a 300kW wireless charging technology to a Brooklyn-based company, HEVO.

The high-power wireless vehicle charging technology could potentially lead to semi-trucks getting charged without making any stops.

ORNL’s lab facilities and resources will greatly impact HEVO’s mission of scaling its power charging technology into a megawatt power range. Image used courtesy of ORNL.


The Concept behind EV Charging with HEVO

HEVO has created a sleek vehicle pad that can be integrated with any EV battery system, it intercepts the power adapter for the battery system. The vehicle pad captures wireless power from an external power pad. These power stations from HEVO involve a power pad that is grid-connected via a power station which allows for wireless power transmission from the EV to the external pad. A driver simply utilizes a mobile cloud-based app to locate the nearest power station and once the vehicle is within 25 feet of the power pad the vehicle will be alerted with lane guidance to comfortably align the vehicle to begin charging.  The application will show in real-time the amount of charge the EV received and how many miles have been added.

HEVO’s diagram displays a user-friendly concept for more efficient wireless EV charging. Image used courtesy of HEVO.


Currently, HEVO’s power station offers up to 8kW of power and requires a power pad, vehicle pad, battery adapter, and guardian detection device to establish a complete and fully functional charging station. A recent announcement made by Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, showcased a Technology Commercialization Fund Award that has HEVO and ORNL co-developing a 300kW wireless charging system based on ORNL’s converter and power devices. HEVO plans to work closely with ORNL to increase power levels and the efficiency of current charging techniques.


HEVO Shall Leverage ORNL’s Funding to Boost Wireless Charging Solution

ORNL works with over 100 different companies including startups each year for the past 5 years. Providing access to lab facilities, intellectual property, and lab-developed technologies. How will HEVO leverage ORNL’s resources? From the start, the licensing will allow HEVO to utilize resources from ORNL to further develop and launch the wireless charging technology into commercial manufacturing.

First, the ORNL’s license includes ORNL’s polyphase electromagnetic coil that delivers a high power density of approximately 1.5 MW (1,500 kW) per square meter. That is nearly 10x higher than current industry standards. The license also includes a converter that eliminates a power conversion stage that is essential for wireless power transfer. This will help reduce the number of discrete components that would’ve been needed for larger power densities.

Improving the speed of EV charging and power needed to recharge a battery in between charging stations, will also help reduce range anxiety. Many consumers worry about a potential lack of available charging infrastructures in various cities. As of now, the thought process for EVs to experience wireless charging is by a vehicle being parked on top of a charging pad or filling in the road.

ORNL plans to continue researching ways to bring wireless charging to electric semi-trucks. Image used courtesy of ORNL.


The Bigger Picture

Conventional commercial battery packs are rated 30kWh to 60kWh and even up to 100kWh. Less than 20 minutes to charge a 100kWh battery pack -requires a 300kW charging station infrastructure. To get the time to under 10 minute charge time, power density would need to increase by more than a megawatt. ORNL researchers discovered battery packs would require several hundred kWh in energy storage capacity for heavy-duty vehicles such as semi-trucks.

Jeremy McCool, HEVO’s founder, and CEO discussed the importance of being funded by ORNL. “Our collaboration with ORNL utilizes HEVO’s strength in designing, developing, and commercializing wireless charging technology and software as the first and only company in the world that is compliant with both SAE and UL safety and performance standards.”

For an electric semi-truck to benefit from HEVO’s technology, it would require a larger vehicle pad and a substantial increase in wattage for the power pad. A larger vehicle pad would reduce the footprint in the battery system location so alternative designs will need to be further researched.

HEVO and ORNL’s long-term goal of this technology is to enable EVs to be charged while in use, even as they accelerate at highway speeds, and to be able to integrate into electric semi-trucks.