Updated: Aug 13, 2021
Sprint Power, one of Britain’ leading technology companies specialising in electrified propulsion systems, power electronics and low carbon tech, has developed a series of wireless charging modules ahead of a major new UK government-backed trial that starts on the streets of Nottingham next month. The trial will demonstrate the suitability of wireless charging technology in a fleet of the UK’s most popular electrified taxis.
Sprint Power is developing an electrical distribution system (EDS), a power distribution module (PDM), and a high voltage harness assembly that will enable a fleet of electric taxis to charge wirelessly via pads attached to the ground. The bespoke and high-tech design will automatically recognise which power source to draw current from, with each vehicle featuring both wireless and plug-in charging capability.
Ten modified LEVC TX and Nissan Dynamo electric taxis will be trialled in the scheme in which drivers will transport members of the public in real-world tests for a period of six months. The trial will capture information such as journey distances and battery performance data, while drivers will report back on their experiences using the technology.
The first prototype taxis will 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 located inside each vehicle.
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 technology is widely seen as a vital facilitator in speeding up the introduction of electric taxi operations. Sprint Power believes 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.
The trial comes as city authorities around the country continue to look at schemes aimed at improving local air quality, reducing noise pollution and cutting carbon emissions.
Founder and CEO of Sprint Power, Richie Frost, commented: “We are delighted to be part of this pioneering project and are on track to deliver thesecustom-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.