Sprint Power secures government backing to develop wireless charging systems for taxis
Sprint Power, a new British technology company specialising in the innovation of electric propulsion, has been awarded funding from the UK government to develop wireless charging modules for taxis. As part of a successful consortium awarded a total of £3.4million, Sprint Power has been tasked with demonstrating the suitability of wireless charging technology in a fleet of the UK’s most popular electrified taxis.
Sprint Power will develop a custom interface module and software, together with a bespoke integration kit for each vehicle type, that will allow electric taxis to be retrofitted with wireless charging capabilities. 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.