Dubai tests wireless charging for city buses and EVs

Dubai, the biggest city in UAE, is testing dynamic wireless charging with buses and EVs that pick up a charge when traveling over an embedded charging grid. (Dubai)

Dubai is testing dynamic wireless charging with electric vehicles and buses in motion by using technology called Shaped Magnetic Field In Resonance (SMFIR).

The research by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is part of several green initiatives in the largest city in United Arab Emirates.

The first phase involved laying an embedded power-charging grid underneath 60 meters of roadway at the Dubai Silicon Oasis area. When RTA tested an EV and a bus on the path, the wireless charging system was comparable to cable charging, according to a statement from His Excellency Mattar Mohammed Al-Tayer, chairman of the RTA board.

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The SMFIR charging mechanism works when an EV runs over it, activated by a sensor on the road. The mechanism generates an electromagnetic field by drawing its power from the electricity grid. Underneath the EV, a pick up coil is installed that collects the magnetic flux, which is converted to DC power and distributed throughout the vehicle.

Using this approach means that vehicles won’t have to stop at charging stations. However, the city already has 240 charging stations with plans to increase that number to 300 by year’s end. Dubai has set a goal of having the lowest carbon footprint of any city in the world by 2050. Officials hope the SMFIR test will lead to wider deployment and help increase the number of EVs in Dubai. The city of 3.3 million people already has seen an increase in EVs.

SMFIR has been tested and used elsewhere, including in South Korea in 2013, according to a BBC report. Qualcomm announced Halo, a wireless electric vehicle charging technology, in 2018.

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