Kia Motors is constantly looking for new ways to incorporate modern technology into its vehicles, and with alternative fuel vehicles on the rise, that means also developing new modern technology to make such vehicles a little more convenient. A few years ago, and still today, alternative fuel vehicles like plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles were a pain to produce, and automakers had to rack up the price to make a profit. As we continue to move forward with technology, alternative fuel vehicles are becoming less costly, and that means automakers like Kia Motors can turn their attention to developing amenities and equipment to make owning and driving alternative fuel vehicles more practical for the average consumer. So let’s talk the bane of every potential plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle driver – recharging.
Problems with Charging Up
We’ve covered the basics of electric vehicle charging before, and we’ve compiled a bit of an extensive list of where to find charging stations in Miami, Florida. We won’t cover them too in-depth here, but we would like to cover the current market for electric charging stations. Although production of charging stations is on the rise, and although automakers are making it easier to charge up by offering home installation of Level II (240V) chargers, and organizations like PlugShare.com make finding a local charging station easy, there is still one automaker dominating that industry – Tesla.
Although plummeting in stock due to an inability to meet the production demands of their preorders, Tesla capitalized on the electric vehicle market by becoming an electric-only automaker. However, with Tesla vehicles costing $100,000 plus, when consumers can get the Chevrolet Bolt EV for a fraction of the price and with just as much driving range, and a $7500 federal tax credit, it’s hard to wonder why consumers are going for Tesla. One of the reasons is that, although Tesla is a smaller company, they’re dominating the market for electric vehicle charging as well.
That’s the one thing many automakers have overlooked when it comes to alternative fuel vehicles. Chevrolet, Kia, Mitsubishi, Ford, Nissan, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, and Hyundai (to name a few), all have at least one plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle in their lineup, but many of them are missing charging station notifications. Not only does Tesla make it easy to see where local charging stations are en route, but Tesla is dominating the market because they dedicate a lot of their funding into creating charging stations. This gives them the advantage.
Kia Motors has plans to change that.
Kia Motors and Wireless Charging
No, not wireless smartphone charging. That’s already a big thing popping up in vehicles everywhere. Nope, this one is actually a bit of a shocker. We’re talking wireless charging for electric vehicles, and the breakthrough isn’t too far away.
Kia Motors is testing this technology with their Kia Soul EV, their only pure-electric vehicle at the moment. It makes sense to use the Soul EV when testing a wireless charging platform for two reasons. (1) The 2018 Kia Soul EV is powered by a 30 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, capable of powering the Soul EV for anywhere between 0 – 111 miles, depending on the charge level of the battery and any regenerative braking that may come to play, and (2) electric vehicle competition, of course.
A fleet of five Kia Soul EVs were outfitted with compact wireless charging receivers that pair with an electromagnetic field generator. This receiver is capable of harvesting up to 10 kW of electrons out of thin air at an efficiency rating of 85-percent, or 85-percent of the electrons in the surrounding area are being harvested. 15-percent isn’t much when talking 10 kW, but with Tesla Superchargers pumping out 145 kW with a 11.5 kW charging speed, it’s a bit of a scratch. Still, not needing to get out of one’s car, plugging in, and let alone figuring out how to plug in for some consumers, having to simply drive up to a raised platform and charge up one’s car is surely much more practical, easier, and may even be cheaper due to its less complex design.
The system developed by Kia and Mojo is made up of a transmitter on the ground and the receiver on the vehicle. Charging stations like the Tesla Supercharger use an “induction coil” to create an alternating electromagnetic field and a second matching induction coil in the device to charge up a vehicle. When it comes to the modified Soul EV, the already present electromagnetic field has plenty of free electrons that are simply collected by the generator and then converted into electricity to charge the battery.
With this fleet of wireless Kia Soul EVs being a success, we may see more unplugged electric vehicles in the future. Maybe even plug-in hybrids with this technology. At this time, however, Kia has no immediate plans to offer wireless charging on any of the electrified vehicles in its lineup, but that’s fine. With how irritable technology can be today, wireless charging stations should be as perfect as can be before mass production starts.
Interested in your own alternative fuel vehicle? We have hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles at Miami Lakes Automall.