Sprint Power has developed a series of wireless charging modules in preparation for a new UK government-backed trial in Nottingham that starts next month.
The project will look to demonstrate the suitability of wireless charging technology for a fleet of the UK’s key electrified taxis.
Sprint Power is developing an electric distribution system (EDS), power distribution module (PDM), and a high-voltage harness assembly that allow a fleet of electric taxis to charge wirelessly via pads attached to the ground.
The system will automatically recognise which power source to draw current from, with each vehicle featuring both wireless and plug-in technology.
The leading British electric vehicle technology firm has been involved in the modification of ten range-extended LEVC TX and Nissan Dynamo pure-electric taxis, which will be trialled in the scheme. The trial will capture data such as journey distances and battery performance, while drivers will report back on their experiences using the technology.
The first prototype taxis begin testing the wireless charging technology next month, with all ten vehicles due on-road from early autumn. Members of the public will be able to spot the special taxis by their distinctive livery, while passengers can learn more about how the technology works via posters in each vehicle.
The WiCET (Wireless Charging of Electric Taxis) trial looks to demonstrate the commercial and technical viability of inductive charging for electric taxis in medium and large cities.
The installation of wireless chargers at taxi ranks for frequent charging can improve vehicle driving range, minimise recharging times and provide better service availability for passengers, while also reducing the negative impact ‘plug-in’ charging could have on taxi drivers’ ability to do their jobs effectively.
Founder and CEO of Sprint Power, Richie Frost, said: “We are delighted to be part of this pioneering project and are on track to deliver these custom-built products in time for the taxis hitting the streets of Nottingham.
“I firmly believe this exciting project not only demonstrates Sprint Power’s technical and engineering capabilities; it also underscores the importance of wireless charging technology to this country’s shift towards sustainable mobility.”
Funding for the wireless taxi charging project has been awarded by Innovate UK, a non-departmental public body funded by the UK government and designed to drive research and development into new technologies. In addition to Sprint Power, the consortium includes CENEX (Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies), Coventry University, Nottingham City Council, Shell, Parking Energy, and Transport for London.