The movement away from combustible engines is in full effect and every major auto manufacturer has either built or is in the process of developing their own electric vehicle. On the heels of Tesla’s global success with its Model S, Model X, or its brand new Model 3 series. With that being said, there is a huge roadblock standing in the way of making the best electric vehicles a global phenomenon: its infrastructure.
Problems with EV Infrastructure
Whether it’s limited access to charging stations in developing countries or aggressively long recharging waits at metropolitan locations, the EV infrastructure is lacking widespread outreach and speedy service. As performance technology under the hood continues to move forward, the ability to power an EV efficiently still remains stagnant. And it’s not for the lack of effort. Tesla’s $5 billion Gigafactory is scheduled to build 500,000 lithium-ion batteries per year, Samsung SDI discovered an improved supercapacitor cell, and Israeli’s Ministry of Transport has backed ElectRoad’s “under the pavement” wireless charging road.
This still leaves plenty of room for thinking “outside-the-box” when it comes to EV’s infrastructure innovation. Thankfully, a recent patent application by NextEV – a subsidiary of NIO – has evoked an entirely new way of thinking around electric vehicle charging. And the best part: it’s a cheaper resolution to both increased battery capacity and building additional charging stations.
NextEV’s Patent Application
According to a recent “What a Future” article, the NextEV patent application “discusses methods to recharge batteries of an EV on the move.” The first option is recharging by way of drone. Designed to hover over your car and by locating the charging port, the drone is capable of supplying enough juice of a full recharge without interrupting your trip. You can summon the drone via your smartphone app and the GPS-locator will guide the UAV to your car. The only hiccup: making sure the charging panels are installs on the rooftops of the electric vehicles.
The second method, in my opinion, is a bit more realistic mostly because it taps into technology already being used by jets during flight. We’ve all seen the ambilocal-cord like refueling process where one aircraft supplies the other with much-needed fuel. NextEV’s patent application also discusses this “buddy charging” system in full detail. Instead of this happening mid-air, of course, this is taking place on the ground while in transit. Like the summoning of the drone, a truck will pull up alongside your vehicle and start the recharging process. Equipped with a built-in charging station, the truck will see fit that your vehicle is fully charged without stopping the trip.
With a universal goal centered around eliminating carbon emissions from automobiles altogether, there is certainly some excitement around NextEV’s patent application. It helps that NIO, the parent company, is renown for their high-performance vehicle technology – breaking Germany’s Nurburgring race track record with its EP9 supercar.
Source: What a Future