Source: ORNL | Release/Story Tips | July 6, 2021.

ORNL researchers installed and demonstrated their wireless charging technology for the first time on an autonomous vehicle – the Local Motors Olli shuttle bus. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

ORNL researchers installed and demonstrated their wireless charging technology for the first time on an autonomous vehicle – the Local Motors Olli shuttle bus. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers demonstrated their wireless charging technology on an autonomous electric vehicle for the first time in a project with Local Motors.

The charging system developed at ORNL was installed on Local Motors’ autonomous shuttle, the Olli. The architecture includes both wireless and wired charging, so the bus can connect to either DC or AC power, respectively. The team demonstrated power transferring from a grid interface to the vehicle’s battery across a 6-inch air gap at approximately 91% efficiency.

An equipped EV charges hands free, safely and efficiently, while parked over a charging pad. The technology has also been demonstrated on a light-duty SUV and a medium-duty delivery truck.

“Our wireless charging technology has matured enough that we can design and install equipment for a custom environment such as on the Olli, to give vehicle manufacturers the flexibility they need to accelerate toward a decarbonized, electrified transportation future,” ORNL’s Madhu Chinthavali said.