Manhole covers have always terrified me, as I seem to have an inexplicable phobia of someday falling into one that wasn't on right or simply wasn't on at all. But one company's idea of turning a manhole into a wireless charging station for electric vehicles (EV) somehow makes them seem less scary.
By using a resonance-based charging system installed underneath the city pavement via a pre-existing manhole cover, Hevo Power aims to promote electric vehicle usage for those who previously found the process of juicing up their engine a chore. Resonance charging was chosen over traditional inductive charging because of its efficiency in energy conservation and faster rate of charge at further distances.
The charging system comes in three parts: a power station, vehicle receiver battery and a smartphone app. Using the Hevo Power app, drivers can locate a nearby power station, line their vehicle up to the charge field, pay for their juice and monitor how fast their car battery is charging. The app even gives frequent users coupons for coffee or products at nearby stores to fuel the driver too. How generous!
Charging stations would be ideal for delivery truck drop off points, which often require having the vehicle parked for a certain amount of time — time that can be used to power up an electric vehicle. The current iteration of the charging system is classed at Level 2 with 220 volts and up to 10 kilowatts of transmitted energy from the manhole pad to the EV.
Hevo hopes to have the wireless charging stations ready by early 2014 in New York's Washington Square Park to be used with two Smart ForTwo NYU-owned electric vehicles. The company is mostly focusing on powering "Neighborhood Electric Vehicles" that have a small environmental footprints, operate on lower speeds and have minimal battery capacity, ideal for area-specific delivery trucks.