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$12m invested into developing wireless charging for electric vehicles

15 Sep 2017

A pioneering project to build wireless charging technology that charges electric vehicles as they are being driven or parked has received almost $12 million from this year’s Endeavour Fund.

Professor Grant Covic leads the development of dynamic charging roadways at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Engineering.

Along with computer and electrical engineering Emeritus Professor John Boys, he founded a global startup company that has been sold to technology development company Qualcomm.

However, the University retains Intellectual Property rights.

Qualcomm recently tested vehicles over a specially-designed track in France.

The project has a number of implementation companies in New Zealand involved including Vector, Downer, JuicePoint along with public agencies Ministry of Transport, NZTA and Auckland Transport.

It is estimated that by 2050, 37 million electric vehicles will be on the road worldwide.

Extending the range of electric vehicles is critical to their success but many of the challenges of plug-in cars have proved difficult to solve.

Professor Covic says a further objective of the work is to help New Zealand companies and iwi benefit from the technology through new knowledge and use of local materials.

“It is extremely exciting to be involved in this type of innovation because it brings together leading scientists and engineers from around New Zealand to develop both the material science and the engineering design and I am delighted it has received such significant funding.

“This work represents the kind of leading-edge design that is going to be so important to the transportation needs of our future cities and how we provide solutions for the public and private infrastructure we are going to need as the world moves towards electric vehicles.”

Faculty of Engineering colleagues also involved in the project include Professor of Mechanical Engineering Simon Bickerton and Senior Lecturer Doug Wilson from Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The funding of $11,981,875 is for five years.

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