By Damon Lavrinc, October 16, 2013
Imagine an electric Pepsi delivery truck in Manhattan. It makes
dozens of stops at the same locations, day in and day out. Now what if
at each stop — or every other stop — it could wirelessly top up its
battery pack as the driver drops off another case of sugar water. That’s
what Hevo Power is aiming to do with a new wireless charging system that blends into its surroundings by aping a manhole.
“I was walking down the street, pondering how wireless charging could
be deployed,” Hevo’s CEO and founder Jeremy McCool told WIRED. “I was
standing at 116th and Broadway, and I was looking down and saw a manhole
cover. And thought, that’s the ticket. There are no cords, no hazards.
Everything can be underneath the manhole cover.”
result is a new system of wireless charging stations that Hevo plans to
deploy in New York’s Washington Square Park in early 2014, beginning
with two Smart ForTwo electric vehicles operated by NYU.
McCool and his crew opted for a resonance charging system rather than
the traditional inductive charging system used by some smartphones,
tablets, and retrofitted EVs like the Nissan Leaf.
Traditionally, inductive charging requires a primary coil to generate
an electromagnetic field that is picked up by a second coil mounted
underneath the EV to juice up the battery pack. But it’s not
particularly efficient, with large amounts of energy dissipating through
the coil. With a resonance-based system, both coils are connected with
capacitors that resonate at a specific frequency. The energy losses are
reduced and you can transmit more energy at a faster rate and further
Hevo’s system comes in three parts: a power station that can either
be bolted to the street or embedded in the pavement, a vehicle receiver
that’s connected to the battery, and a smartphone app that lets drivers
line up their vehicle with the station and keep tabs on charging.
In its current form, Hevo’s system is classed as a Level 2 charging
station, with 220-volts and up to 10 kilowatts of energy being
transmitted from the pad to the vehicle. McCool says the system can put
out more than 10 kW, depending on the application. But for now, Hevo is
focusing on Neighborhood Electric Vehicles with small footprints, low
speeds, and minimal battery capacity — something that’s perfect for
inner-city delivery vehicles.
In addition to the NYU program and working with E-Ride,
Hevo is in talks with PepsiCo, Walgreens, and City Harvest to discuss
the possibility of rolling out the system for a larger fleet of
“It’s an iterative roll out strategy that starts with a fleet and
builds on policy matching technology,” McCool says. “This is the kind of
ecosystem that needs to exist [for EVs].”