XC40 Recharge taxis will utilize wireless charging over the next three years to test its viability.
Charging an electric car is one of the less positive aspects of EV ownership. Fast chargers have moved the game on but there are still issues surrounding the mundane task of charging. Recently, one EV driver discovered an alarming issue when he plugged his Kia EV6 into a Tesla Supercharger. Even with the car locked, the cable could still be disconnected.
But as technology advances, these issues will soon disappear. Volvo is currently testing new wireless charging technology in Sweden, using a fleet of Volvo XC40 Recharge SUVs. Over the next three years, a small fleet of electric XC40s will be used as taxis by a large taxi operator, charging the batteries via the wireless charging solution.
"Testing new charging technologies together with selected partners is a good way to evaluate alternative charging options for our future cars," said Volvo's Head of Research and Development, Mats Moberg. The Swedish carmaker says charging commences automatically when a compatible vehicle is parked over a charging pad. The pad itself is embedded in the street and allows EV drivers to top up the batteries without leaving the comfort of their car.
The XC40 is easily aligned with the charging pad, using the 360-degree camera system. Once positioned, the charging station then sends energy to the charging pad which is, in turn, picked up by a receiver unit in the EV. Volvo says the XC40 Recharge will be able to charge around four times quicker than a wired 11kW AC charger and nearly as fast as a 50kW DC fast charger, courtesy of the 40 kW wireless charging power.
As taxis, the XC40 test units will be used for more than 12 hours a day and cover over 60,000 miles a year, making this the first test of durability for Volvo EVs in a commercial, day-to-day scenario. The experiment forms part of the Gothenburg Green City Zone initiative, which allows the use of the city as a testing ground, all in the name of achieving emission-free transport by 2030.
Volvo isn't the first brand to express an interest in wireless EV charging. Interestingly, Volvo isn't the first carmaker to embark on a project like this. Jaguar has previously partnered up with a taxi company, providing a brace of I-Pace SUVs that also gleaned electricity via wireless charging.
Elsewhere, Kia is heading in a different but equally convenient direction. The Korean brand is offering EV owners a two-month subscription to Currently, a mobile charging service that lets them charge up when most convenient to them.