Autonomous shuttle self-charging demonstrated

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The US Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have demonstrated their wireless charging technology on an autonomous electric vehicle for the first time in a project with Local Motors. The charging system developed at ORNL was installed on a Local Motors’ autonomous shuttle, the Olli.

The vehicle’s architecture includes both wireless and wired charging, so the bus can connect to either DC or AC power. The team demonstrated power transferring from a grid interface to the vehicle’s battery across a 6-inch air gap at approximately 91% efficiency. An EV equipped with the system is able to charge hands free, safely and efficiently, while parked over a charging pad.

ORNL’s Madhu Chinthavali and Steven Campbell with Local Motors’ Johnny Scotello and Seth Schofill demonstrated the Olli autonomous bus, which is equipped with the lab’s wireless charging technology. CARLOS JONES/ONRL