Wireless Charging of Electric Vehicles
UL pioneered a methodology for testing wireless EV chargers. Leveraging our technical expertise and advanced engineering capabilities, we created new computational modeling techniques to gauge safety, compatibility and efficiency.
WHY WIRELESS CHARGING OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES MATTERS
Given that wireless charging of electric vehicles (EVs) is a high-power application, there are concerns about the risks related to the human body, the environment and property. UL’s research is helping to mitigate safety concerns by developing ways to empirically determine and predict high-risk situations related to wireless chargers and EVs.
By 2015, there may be as many as 1 million electric-powered vehicles and more than 20 different EV models available for sale in the U.S.1 It is estimated that sales of wireless charging systems for EVs could surpass 280,000 by 2020.2 The growth in the number of electric-powered vehicles will require the development of many new offerings, presenting significant opportunities for automobile manufacturers as well as the manufacturers of power systems used to build and fuel these fleets. A key area of focus is the deployment of an infrastructure to power this generation of high-tech vehicles, including wireless chargers.
WHAT DID UL DO?
UL has been among the pioneers in developing and using new methodologies for testing the safety of wireless chargers for EVs. Using our technical expertise and advanced engineering capabilities, we have created computational modeling techniques that focus on safety, compatibility and efficiency.3 Computational modeling is more cost-effective than physical testing, has fewer limitations and, most important, enables us to examine more considerations, variables and factors.
Our research methods have demonstrated via simulation the variations in field distribution and efficiency for varying conditions of primary and secondary charger pad alignment in a wireless EV charging system. In addition, when charger paths are misaligned, the danger potentially increases as well, notably in the form of raised radiation levels. The modeling techniques also can help address conditions of compatibility between the primary charger pad (located in the infrastructure) and the secondary pad (located on the vehicle). Compatibility of the two pads is required for the system to work safely and maintain the charging efficiency.
We are using computational modeling to determine the safety impact of the wireless charging zone. The charging zone is located between the primary and secondary pads. When the charging system is running, power is high in this concentrated area. UL is able to model a variety of potential scenarios. For example, what happens if an aluminum soda can accidentally enters the charging zone? Our advanced tools enable us to predict how hot those objects can get, the varying levels of radiation and under
UL’s simulated research is helping improve knowledge about critical issues for the safety and performance of wireless chargers for EVs. Due to the large area of electromagnetic field exposure between the car and the primary coil/pads and the high electrical power involved in this application, it is critical that the product’s safety be carefully evaluated for electrical shock, electromagnetic field exposure levels and fire hazard. Our ongoing efforts to address the science of near magnetic fields for EV wireless charger systems will help bring about a safer future.