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By A.J. Roan
Metal Tech News 

Volkswagen America teams up with ORNL

To explore wireless EV charging, other exciting breakthroughs Metal Tech News – November 3, 2021


Last updated 11/16/2021 at 4:09pm

Volkswagen ORNL Oak Ridge National Laboratory EV electric vehicle wireless

Carlos Jones/ORNL

According to ORNL, its prototype wireless fast-charging system has a 98% efficiency, meaning almost all power that leaves the charger, makes it to the battery.

As part of the ongoing pursuit to explore breakthroughs in materials science and recycling concepts in the support of electric mobility and sustainable transportation, Volkswagen Group of America's innovation hub in Knoxville, Tennessee has expanded its research collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Reported Oct. 27, the first project involves testing Oak Ridge National Lab's new high-power wireless EV charging concepts with a Porsche Taycan.

"We aim to leverage the unique knowledge and innovative power the Tennessee Valley holds," said Volkswagen America President and CEO Scott Keogh. "Volkswagen is focused to push electric mobility and new technologies for ever-more sustainable transportation. Expanding our research collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee will help drive these efforts."

The interdisciplinary teams have started testing the new wireless charging concepts for EVs – their goal is to develop a higher-power wireless charger through new designs that focus on electromagnetic waves to eliminate interference, thus increasing efficiency.

In the first trials, a prototype system has shown a high level of efficiency where up to 98% of the energy used (coil-to-coil) could reach the vehicle battery.

"We are excited to work with Volkswagen to demonstrate ORNL's high-powered, ultra-efficient wireless charging technology," said Xin Sun, associate laboratory director for energy science and technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "Our unique polyphase electromagnetic coil design and power electronics provide high power transfer levels in a compact system, with the potential to alleviate electric vehicle range anxiety, and speed the decarbonization of the U.S. transportation sector."

Located on University of Tennessee's Knoxville-based Research Park at Cherokee Farm, Volkswagen Group of America will be able to tap into the university's world-leading research talent, including faculty and doctoral students, to help explore collaborative research opportunities and have direct involvement in the company's applied research and development.

Other research projects at Volkswagen's Innovation Hub include focus on advanced functional materials, such as composite car body parts and plant-based materials for future interior designs. The teams are also working on new recycling concepts for materials conventionally deemed non-recyclable, such as fiber reinforced composites.

"Our work with Volkswagen fits with our vision to create a more just, prosperous, and sustainable future through our research," said University of Tennessee Knoxville Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Deb Crawford. "Volkswagen is a model innovation partner, and understands the value that co-location with a world-class research university creates. Together, we are identifying technological solutions that could lead to a more sustainable future for our planet."

Opened in partnership with the University of Tennessee in early 2020, Volkswagen Group of America Innovation Hub Knoxville has established working relationships with other universities and key researchers in the region.

fast-charging Porsche Taycan 98% efficiency University Tennessee Innovation Hub

Carlos Jones/ORNL

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers work in the Extreme Fast-Charging Lab in ORNL's Grid Research Integration Deployment Center.

Furthermore, the Innovation Hub joins the global Volkswagen Group's larger innovation ecosystem, including innovation centers in Belmont, California; Wolfsburg, Germany; and Beijing, China, along with hubs in Barcelona, Spain; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Tokyo, Japan.

"The global Volkswagen Group aims to build a more sustainable vision of future mobility worldwide, and we connect the best researchers in the world to make that a reality," said Nikolai Ardey, executive director group research at Volkswagen Group. "Co-innovating with partners like Oakridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee helps to multiply the power of Volkswagen's international innovation team."


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