As part of a consortium, Sprint Power, a new British technology company specialising in the innovation of electric propulsion, has been awarded £3.4million of funding from the UK government to develop wireless charging modules for taxis.
The West Midlands based business is tasked with the development of a custom wireless charging interface module and software, together with a bespoke retrofit kit for each vehicle type. A fleet of 10 modified LEVC TX and Nissan ENV200 electric taxis will be trialled for six months in Nottingham.
The WiCET (Wireless Charging of Electric Taxis) trial will demonstrate the commercial and technical viability of ‘inductive’ charging for electric taxis in medium and large cities.
Wireless charging is widely seen as necessary in speeding up the introduction of electric taxi operations. The installation of wireless chargers at taxi ranks for frequent charging can improve vehicle range and minimise recharging times. This is ideal given the typical duty cycles of taxis and the potential negative impact ‘plug-in’ charging could have on taxi drivers’ ability to do their jobs effectively. Sprint Power will work with taxi drivers to better understand behaviours and attitudes to electric vehicles and rapid and wireless charging.
Founder and CEO of Sprint Power, Richie Frost commented:
“Many taxi operators, businesses and councils are keen to make the transition to electric vehicles. Our view is that wireless charging will significantly ease this transition. As part of the project, we will work through the technical and commercial challenges, creating a framework to demonstrate the viability of inductive charging as a true long-term solution to a wireless, zero-emission future”.
Funding for the wireless charging project has been awarded by Innovate UK, a non-departmental public body funded by the UK government 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.