Momentum Dynamics Corp., the Malvern manufacturer of wireless vehicle chargers, has signed a deal to install three chargers in Indianapolis to help the IndyGo municipal bus system overcome the underperformance of the batteries in its new electric buses.
The company will embed three 300-kilowatt wireless charging systems in the roadway, which Momentum claims in a statement are “the highest capacity system of its kind implemented anywhere in the world.” An electric bus, positioned over a wireless charger for a few minutes, can top off its battery en route, allowing the vehicle to extend its range and operate virtually all day.
Momentum was hired by BYD, the electric bus manufacturer, to install its wireless system after IndyGo said its fleet of new electric buses consistently failed to deliver the contractually promised mileage on a single charge. The buses were required to travel 275 miles on a charge in zero-degree weather, but IndyGo’s tests indicated the buses averaged about 208 miles when the temperature was 26 degrees.
The challenges IndyGo experienced with its BYD buses highlight one of the ongoing consumer complaints about the range of electric vehicles, particularly in cold weather. Analysts say range concerns have hindered mass adoption of electric vehicles, which account for about 2 percent of U.S. vehicles, according to market reports.
Momentum Dynamics says its charging system — which involves installing a receiver on the underside of a vehicle that interacts wirelessly with a charger mounted in the pavement — helps vehicle owners overcome range limitations.
The company is marketing its devices primarily to fleet owners, such as municipal transit systems, whose vehicles follow a standard circuit during which they can receive repeated top-ups en route.