Göteborg, Sweden – Electric cars may one day charge themselves simply by parking in a special spot, thanks to a project being undertaken by Volvo and its partners.

The automaker is participating in an inductive charging project along with Belgian technological and development specialists Flanders’ Drive, bus manufacturer Van Hool and tram manufacturer Bombardier. With inductive charging, energy is transferred wirelessly to the car’s battery via a charging plate buried in the road surface, without power sockets or charging cables.

“The aim is naturally that it should be as convenient as possible to own and use an electric car,” said Johan Konnberg, project manager of the special vehicles division at Volvo. The project will use a Volvo C30 Electric that will be modified by Flanders’ Drive for inductive charging. The car’s 24 kWh battery pack is expected to take about an hour and twenty minutes to charge using the system, which uses a charging plate containing a coil that generates a magnetic field. The energy that is transferred is alternating current, which is converted into direct current by the car’s voltage converter and used to charge the battery.

Several automakers and technology companies are conducting research in the area, but as yet, none can offer a finished product. “There is not yet any common standard for inductive charging,” Konnberg said. “One aspect of this project is to integrate this technology into the road surface and to take energy directly from there to power the car. This is a smart solution that is some way into the future.”

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