Endesa develops electric vehicles’ wireless fast charging

With a 2.3 million euro budget, this pioneering project in Europe will run for two-and-a-half years.

Today, Endesa has launched the European Project ‘Unplugged’ in Barcelona through the project’s consortium. The initiative is aimed at developing wireless, or ‘inductive’, fast charge for electric vehicles as well as investigating how this innovative charging system can improve convenience and sustainability of car-based mobility in urban environments. Endesa and its Parent Company ENEL are the only European power utilities in the ‘Unplugged’ consortium.

‘Unplugged‘ is an EU initiative, launched within the activities of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (7PM). The ‘Unplugged’ consortium involves 17 partners, including private firms, European research centres and universities, along with contributions from cities such as Barcelona and Florence. ‘Unplugged’ has a 2.3 million euro budget and is scheduled to run for two-and-a-half years.

Endesa will lead the working group that will build the first wireless fast charging station in the world. The same working group will also devise the integration between recharging station and in-vehicle equipment together with Circe Foundation, a Zaragoza-based research centre. Meanwhile, Enel will also develop and install a system for the operation and control of the charging station.

The induction concept

‘Inductive’ EV charging carried out via a wireless cable connection between vehicle and charging station represents an alternative to conventional charging.

‘Unplugged’ is aimed at developing a new method whereby EV users can simply park their car on a ground-level charging platform with no need to plug the car into a recharger nor of any additional effort to charge the vehicle’s battery.

This innovative system is based on inductive power transfer (IPT) between a device placed inside the electric vehicle and a second one buried under the recharging station. The technology is wireless, with no visible connections between vehicle and charging station.

The advantages of inductive charging

The system is simple and user-friendly as drivers do not need to physically connect the car into anything, so they can comfortably sit in the car while it is being charged.

The system is safe from vandalism, because all equipment is placed in the vehicle or buried underground.

‘Unplugged’ works against a range of adverse environments, including extreme temperatures, rain, ice and snow.

As all devices are hidden underground there is no visual impact on the surrounding environment. The use of this underground technology can allow the removal of overhead cables, which represents a particular advantage for trains and city trams.

Unplugged partners: