Qualcomm offered a glimpse into the potential future of electric car ownership as it gave its Halo Dynamic charging system its public debut.
On a bespoke piece of test track in Versailles, a 150m stretch of road was created that was fitted with its dynamic charging technology. In essence, this takes the hardware that has been charging the BMW i track vehicles in a static capacity since the advent of Formula E, and scales it up so that the cars can actually be charged while on the move.
With the world’s press in attendance, the specially adapted Renault Kangoo took to the ‘charging’ road, initially at just 10kw rating, but as the demonstration went on the power was upped and so was the speed on the car, and by the end it was running along the road at 100kmh while receiving the same amount of energy in charging as it was expending to travel that quickly. In addition, two cars took to the strip simultaneously to show that multiple vehicles can be charged at the same time without the power level dropping.
An impromptu rain shower added an unexpected demonstration by showing that the technology works equally well in the wet as in the dry.
Among the onlookers was Formula E CEO and founder Alejandro Agag. He said: “Formula E was always designed to be a place where the next generation of technology could be showcased. For Season 5 we have already committed to introducing a battery that has twice the energy of the one we have now, but the technology we see here has the potential to take that even further. With a dynamic charging lane a 24-hour race without stops becomes possible!”
The first production vehicle featuring a version of Qualcomm Halo static charging is about to be launched by Mercedes-Benz. And while it will most likely be a few years before dynamic charging is available, it could have a pivotal role to play in the development of Formula E's sporting and technical regulations.
“The key thing is, how would we bring dynamic charging to a Formula E event to continue to add to the excitement of a race event,” said Graeme Davison, Qualcomm’s Vice President of Technology. “There are many different ways it could be used – extra loops, joker laps, online and offline racing – all those things. So I think we need to spend some time, put them all into a pot, and then work out what really adds to the series.”
Qualcomm Safety Car driver Bruno Correia is convinced that dynamic charging has a place in Formula E: “Can you imagine the strategies that could be used during the race if we could adapt the regulations to allow this on the track? It would change dramatically the way the drivers would use the batteries and strategies during the race. Honestly, it’s fantastic to see that we are making history here and we should all be proud to see the evolution – it’s happening, it’s actually possible to charge a car while it’s moving!”
For a more in-depth explanation of how the Qualcomm Halo Dynamic Charging works, click here