How Nikola Tesla’s AC and radio waves could unlock wireless electric vehicle charging

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Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, but range anxiety and charging time are obstacles to their widespread acceptance.

Imagine, however, charging your car by simply changing lanes and heading to special charging strips built into the road.

This is exactly Khurram Afridi’s vision, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Cornell University. With his team, they are developing a revolutionary approach to charging electric vehicles without the need for cables.

Drivers could save time, and cars would need smaller batteries, which would mean their cost would be reduced, as well as their impact on the environment.

In fact, over the past few decades, many scientists have experimented with the idea of ​​wirelessly powering moving vehicles.

However, all previous attempts, using mainly alternating magnetic fields and low frequencies, have failed. The materials needed were bulky and expensive, while the energy generated posed a threat to driver safety.

Afridi’s project promises an innovative solution.

What’s up

Following its predecessors, the idea of ​​Afridi arose from Nikola Tesla’s use of alternating electric fields.

But he went even further by combining it with his expertise in spacecraft communication by high frequency radio waves.

In simple terms, he succeeded in developing an electric field system operating at high frequency.

According to lab tests, it is almost 200 times faster than older magnetic field systems.

So how does it work?

Two insulated metal plates on the ground create alternating electric fields that attract and repel charges in a pair of matching metal plates attached under the vehicle.

The interaction between the plates produces a high frequency current which is picked up by the car circuit. The generated current is then directed to the car’s battery so that it can recharge while driving.

For this to work, the road infrastructure must change massively.

Afridi offers two suggestions: electrifying high-traffic roads or installing charging stations at stop signs and traffic lights in cities. So Cars can recharge at specific locations, or recharge while waiting at intersections.

Well, wireless charging might sound crazy, but it could definitely boost EV acceptance. as a model of sustainable long-distance transport.

However, to implement this type of technology on the ground is much more difficult than developing it in concept.


Do EVs excite your electrons? Do e-bikes spin your wheels? Do self-driving cars make you all recharge?

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