The main advantage of wireless battery charging is that there is no need to connect a cable. For electric vehicles, it offers the possibility of automatically charging the vehicle while it is parked, without the need for unnecessary intervention by the driver. Volkswagen hopes wireless chargers will be able to deliver up to 300kW of power over time.
In principle, this power is already sufficient to enable fast wireless charging, since an average electric car needs less than half an hour to refill a range of several hundred kilometers. Disagreements over the types of wiring connections used to charge EVs when migrating to wireless technology may also be a thing of the past, but here too there may be a ‘war of standards’ in the early stages.
Accordingly electricSpecialists from the American research center Volkswagen managed to develop a technology for wireless charging of the traction battery of an electric vehicle by making a prototype of a silicon carbide charging pad. This material is able to withstand high temperatures and currents, which is very important given the designers’ desire to transfer high power. The silicon carbide inverter proved to be quite efficient, with the prototypes described the power could be increased from 6.6 to 120 kW compared to the device of the first generation. Developers will not limit themselves to this and hope to develop chargers with a capacity of up to 300 kW in the future.
The Volkswagen Research Center at the University of Tennessee opened in 2020 and, in addition to this wireless charging technology, its specialists recently demonstrated three other developments that can be used in the automaker’s electric vehicles. Scientists propose to make the frame of vehicles from special polymer resins that use 3D printing technology to create a spatial structure of interconnected tiny pyramids. This construction can withstand a load of 30,000 times its own weight and, compared to a steel frame, can absorb more kinetic energy in the event of a collision and other mechanical effects on the body. At the same time, the frame is 60% lighter than steel, which significantly reduces the range of the electric vehicle.
Due to the long-standing demand for the use of materials from the recycling of waste in the interior, Volkswagen specialists have implemented a technology that allows the production of car interior parts from waste paper with the addition of polymers and cellulose fibers – by hot pressing.
Volkswagen developers also managed to replicate the tailgate of the 2020 Atlas model using fiberglass-reinforced plastic. The part turned out to be almost 6 kg lighter than the metal part and in relative terms the weight reduction was more than 35%. In such cases, the transition to new materials makes it possible to reduce the weight of the car and increase the range when it comes to electric vehicles. The transition to such materials does not require changes in the assembly process of the finished machine, so the procedure can be used in mass production without special losses and costs.
Volkswagen is already using body parts made of composite materials in Bentley and Lamborghini vehicles and is thus gaining the necessary experience to also use them in a more affordable price segment. A composite pickup truck body is also being tested, and a car of this type is already difficult to classify as a luxury item.