Park and charge: Media demo of safe, new wireless vehicle charging technology invented by UBC researchers

Event:                A UBC electric service vehicle will demonstrate wireless charging. Small demo units will demonstrate the “magnetic gear” technology. Photos are available. B-roll will be made available at event.

Date/Time:    10-11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 26, 2012

Location:        University Services Building, 2329 West Mall, UBC Vancouver campus

Parking:         West Parkade, immediately north of University Services Building

University of British Columbia researchers have invented a safe, efficient technology to wirelessly charge electric vehicles using “remote magnetic gears” – and successfully tested it on campus service vehicles.

“Wireless charging has been a much sought-after technical solution for everything from cell phones to electric cars,” says UBC Physics Prof. Lorne Whitehead. “A significant concern for charging cars wirelessly has been the high power and high frequency electromagnetic fields and their unknown, potential health effects on humans.”

Prof. Whitehead and his team invented a completely different method operating at a frequency 100 times lower and with negligible exposed electric fields. Their solution uses “remote magnetic gears” – a rotating base magnet driven by electricity from the grid, and a second located within the car – to eliminate the use of radio waves.

Four wireless charging stations have been installed at UBC’s Building Operations parking lot and service vehicles retrofitted with the new system. Tests show the system is more than 90 per cent efficient compared to a cable charge. A full charge takes four hours and enables the vehicle to run throughout an eight-hour shift.

The team originally conceived the magnetically driven charging system for medical devices such as an implanted pacemaker. The larger system provides valuable data for further research and development. A patent for the technology has been filed.


Brian Lin
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.2234
Cell: 604.818.5685