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Project Better Place prototype electric car being demonstrated in Israel

Project Better Place's technology demonstration electric car is a converted Renault. It makes use of conventional conductive charging that requires a cable and plug. The proposed inductive charger illustrated in the video will be 'hands-free' and safe.

Return of Inductive Charging?

Will Project Better Place and Renault Nissan Alliance's electric cars be inductively charged?

By EV World

That's a distinct possibility if you take the Project Better Place promotional video below at face value.

Inductive charging, which utilizes magnetic fields to pass electrical current in order to recharge an electric car, was used in the GM EV1 and is still used in the 600 or so Toyota RAV4 EVs still in operation. Instead of making physical contact between a plug and its receptor, the device illustrated in the video would simply need to be within reasonably close proximity to the vehicle's charging port -- in this case at the bottom of the trunk space where the gasoline tank once was.

GM, especially, touted its inductive "paddle"-based system as superior in safety to the competing conductive -- direct contact -- cable and plug approach currently used on most other electric cars.

If Project Better Place plans to go the inductive route -- and a Germany company developed the pavement based charging system some years ago -- that won't preclude the systems ability pass current both ways. Part of the appeal of electric cars is their anticipated capability someday to help provide additional energy storage and power regulation services for the local grid. Shai Agassi, the founder of Project Better Place, told EV World that the cars Renault Nissan are developing for him will have this capability in the cars he plans to offer with his system that is being planned for Israel, Denmark and now Portugal.

Presumably a future charging system will automatically drop a charging plate from the bottom of the vehicle onto the pavement where matching plate using a magnetic field will pass current to the car's battery. While there is some loss of overall efficiency this way, it should make up for it in convenience and safety. Since there is no actual current being passed, there is no danger of electric shock, even if the floor is wet.

It's a very user-friendly system that will likely gain popularity as we move ever-closer to an EV world.

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