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Brief Published: 28 Oct 2013

‘Manhole Cover’ EV Chargers


New York start-up Hevo Power is planning a pilot scheme in the city that will turn modified manhole covers into wireless charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs). A collaboration with New York University, the trial is set for 2014 in a location near Washington Square Park.

Jeremy McCool, chief executive of Hevo, spotted the potential of using manhole covers as wireless EV charging points while looking at one on a New York street. “There are no cords, no hazards,” he told US tech publication Wired. “Everything can be underneath the manhole cover.”

The system consists of a power station; a vehicle receiver, which is connected to the battery; and a smartphone app, which enables drivers to align their EVs with the power station and track charging. Hevo has opted for resonance charging – a faster, more energy-efficient system than the traditional inductive model used by retrofitted EVs such as the Japanese Nissan Leaf.

Classed as a Level 2 charging system, it transmits 220 volts and up to 10 kilowatts of energy, making it well-suited to vehicles with small footprints, low speeds and minimal battery capacity – such as inner-city delivery vehicles. Hevo is already in talks with PepsiCo, pharmacy chain Walgreens and food redistribution charity City Harvest to explore the possibility of rolling out the system for their US fleets.

For more on innovative EV charging systems, see Flash Charging for Electric Buses.