WAVE Wireless Charger Could Combat Cold Weather Effects in EVs

January 29, 2024 by Jake Hertz

The wireless charging solution is rated at 500 kW and can work in low-negative temperatures.

As the transportation sector transitions to electric vehicles (EVs) to meet environmental concerns and regulatory mandates, a critical challenge has emerged: maintaining efficient operations in harsh weather conditions. This is particularly relevant for electric trucks because cold climates pose significant challenges to battery performance and charging logistics. 


Wireless charging system for electric vehicles.

Wireless charging system for electric vehicles. Image used courtesy of WAVE 


Ideanomics, a commercial electric vehicle technology leader, has made significant strides toward combating weather issues with its subsidiary, WAVE (Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification). Why does the weather impact EVs, and how is WAVE addressing the issue?


The Impact of Cold Weather on EVs

In cold weather, the primary issue for EVs lies in battery efficiency. Specifically, low temperatures can substantially reduce the chemical activity in lithium-ion batteries, which are the heart of most EVs. This activity reduction leads to decreased battery capacity and reduced vehicle range.


Lithium-ion battery efficiency by temperature.

Lithium-ion battery efficiency by temperature. Image used courtesy of ResearchGate 


In cold weather, EV batteries can lose a significant portion of their charge. According to AAA, electric vehicles can lose about 40% of their range when the outside temperature drops from 75 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This range reduction is attributed to two main factors: the natural loss of battery capacity in colder temperatures and the increased energy demand for heating the cabin. In more tangible terms, an EV with a rated range of 250 miles would only have about 150 miles of range at 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Charging EVs in cold weather presents additional hurdles. Batteries accept charge less efficiently in low temperatures, leading to longer charging times. Moreover, maintaining optimal battery temperature during charging requires more energy just to keep the system operational, rather than all of it being stored for driving.


Wave’s 500 kW Wireless Charging

WAVE has developed a 500 kW ultra-fast wireless charging system. The system can fully charge a Class 8 electric truck in less than 15 minutes. 


A diagram of WAVE’s wireless charger system.

A diagram of WAVE’s wireless charger system. Image used courtesy of WAVE


The technology employs a charging plate installed beneath the road surface that pairs with a corresponding plate attached to the vehicle’s underside. Through this setup, electricity is transmitted to the vehicle's battery using the principle of induction. 

Notably, this method offers a significant advantage in cold climates. Traditional charging methods, which often require handling heavy cables, become cumbersome and potentially hazardous in icy and snowy conditions. The wireless system bypasses this issue, offering a safer and more convenient solution.

The system is also designed to function effectively in low-negative temperatures, which will be necessary to combat the derating of EVs in winter climates. As a testament to its function in cold weather, Venture Logistics will deploy a WAVE charger in a midwestern facility where it is expected to regularly be exposed to low and sub-zero temperatures. 

Combating the Cold

The development of WAVE's 500 kW ultra-fast wireless charging system hopes to be a positive step forward in addressing challenges posed by cold weather to electric vehicles. By circumventing the difficulties associated with handling charging cables in icy conditions and ensuring effective functioning in low-negative temperatures, such technology could prove vital in maintaining the momentum of the transition towards electric transportation, especially in regions where cold weather is a significant concern.