Even though Americans are willing to ‘plug in’ their vehicles once a week at a gas pump, they seem less willing to plug in their vehicles to a charging station. Manufacturers are overcoming this obstacle by turning the recharging process into a park and leave situation.
What if you did not have to plug in your plug-in hybrid? That’s the appeal of a product developed by Evatran. The technology, which recently received ETL certification, charges the vehicle battery system through a process known as inductive power transfer. What does this mean to the consumer? They simply drive over a magnetic pad positioned on their garage floor instead of plugging in the vehicle.
Why Plug-Ins Matter
When plug-in hybrids were introduced the goal was to extend the electric range of hybrids. Most hybrids can only go a few miles solely on electric power, but by charging the vehicle daily, the battery system can be beefed up creating hybrids that rely less on gas. Also, standard hybrids require a gas engine to run until the hybrid system ‘warms up’ — at which point the electric component of the vehicle can take over. With plug-in hybrids, that is not required. So these vehicles easily travel 20 to 60 miles solely on battery power.
Cost and Compatibility
Keeping costs down is a significant issue for the EV industry and, at $3,000, the non-plug-in system may be an issue since it it about twice the price of a 240-volt charging stations (minus installation) recommended for electric or plug-in hybrids. The company offered an introductory discount dropping the cost by 30 percent. Presently, the system is only compatible with the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, but Evatran noted in a press release it intends to expand the number of compatible vehicles.
Once the industry removes the chore of daily charging, it can continue its focus on improving the range of all-electric power. Despite data that shows the average daily drive for Americans is 51 miles, 300 miles seems to be the magic number for range. Since its inception, the Chevrolet Volt’s target has been to create a family car that can travel 250-300 miles per charge/tank. The Volt hits its target by using a gasoline-powered generator — called a range extender.
Although still a relatively small portion of the overall automotive market, electric vehicles continue to garner support. The amount of electric miles driven by Volt, Leaf and Tesla car owners recently surpassed 1,000,000,000 miles.