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Volvo Wants to Electrify the Road – but Idaho Entrepreneurs Want to Pave them with Solar Cells

by on May.28, 2014

Volvo's prototype city bus will recharge its batteries using an induction system while driving.

While battery cars offer the advantage of zero-emissions driving, they also suffer from a number of disadvantages, notably their limited range and long charging times. But an ambitious new project from Volvo could solve both problems by giving a vehicle a way to charge up while its actually driving.

The maker is working with the Swedish Transport Association to create short stretches of electrified roadway in Gothenberg, the Scandinavian country’s second-largest city. Using a concept called inductive charging, specially designed city buses would simply have to drive along dedicated portions of pavement to partially replenish their batteries. But because there are no exposed wires, the system would be safe for humans and animals who might inadvertently walk across the chargers.

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Volvo isn’t the only one looking for ways to use highways to provide power. An Idaho couple has launched a $1 million campaign effort through the Indiegogo crowdsourcing site, while also tapping a $750,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration, with the idea of developing solar panels that can be used as an alternative to conventional pavement.

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Dodge Dart Gets First Factory Wireless Charging System

Chevy, other makers plan to follow.

by on Apr.10, 2012

The new wireless charging system that will be offered on the 2013 Dodge Dart sedan.

This story was revised to correct details about the wireless charging system used in the Dart and by other manufacturers.

If you’ve ever tried to charge up your iPhone or MP3 player only to discover the wire is missing, Dodge has a neat solution it plans to introduce with the upcoming launch of the compact Dart sedan: a wireless charge pad.

The system is similar to devices such as the popular Powermat now available for home use.  And several aftermarket suppliers have been offering similar systems.  But Dodge will be the first to offer a factory wireless charging system – with several other makers, such as Chevrolet, ready to follow.

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Technically, the charging system isn’t exactly a factory system.  It’s being offered by Chrysler’s parts and service division, Mopar, and can be installed at the dealership or at home, note our friends at Autoblog.  But as it’s designed specifically for use in the new Dart, that’s a minor quibble.

“At Mopar, we look for every single opportunity to make our customers’ lives easier,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “Our industry-first in-vehicle wireless charging system is the perfect solution for those connected customers who are always on the go.”

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GM Makes New Investment in Battery Car Production

Delphi invests in new wireless recharging system.

by on Sep.30, 2010

While GM expands production of EV component, Delphi is looking at a new wireless charging system.

With federal help, General Motors Corp. is sinking an additional $23.5 million into production of components for electric vehicles at a factory near Baltimore, Maryland, where it will produce motors for future battery cars.

The new investment follows GM’s earlier commitment of $246 million to the Baltimore plant back in January. The investments create new jobs at the plant, according to GM officials, which has been under pressure to create more jobs at the company’s U.S. operations in return for the federal bailout that kept it alive.

Meanwhile, GM’s former parts arm, Delphi Corp. is pushing into the nascent EV market with a new partnership aimed at developing wireless charging technology.

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“This will allow us to strengthen our core electrification components expertise,” said GM Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones, about the maker’s latest Baltimore investment. “We’ll have more to say about specific products later.”

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