Manhole Covers: the Future of Electric Car Charging

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Big news out of the Big Apple this week: HEVO, a New York-based green energy company announced plans to introduce a new means of electric car charging into the NYC cityscape. Their delivery system involves a series of wireless charging stations that are so well integrated into the city’s layout that you can easily mistake them for manhole covers.

According to HEVO’s website, this innovative approach to the rapidly increasing demand for sustainable energy sources, these wireless power stations will provide safer, more efficient power, as well as greater accessibility to power for residential and commercial users.


The Current Way of Charging/Practice

Presently, there are two charging methods set in place, one each for commercial and personal use: alternating current (AC) systems for personal vehicles, and magna-charge (induction) systems for commercial vehicles.

  • AC Systems: Most household charging stations deliver a 120-volt charge to the car’s battery by means of a normal electrical outlet. And while this is a very convenient method, it unfortunately takes a great deal of time to charge the battery. This is due largely to the system’s self-regulation feature, which keeps it from delivering too much energy at once and melting the car’s battery.
  • Induction Systems: Using an inductive paddle, this system connects the car to a 240-volt charging station mounted to the wall. One major advantage to this system is the lack of exposed electrical contacts, i.e. very little risk of electrical shock. It’s also quicker than traditional household charging, however, it is not the most efficient charging method and often results in energy loss.


HEVO’s Big Idea

HEVO’s wireless “manhole” stations employ a resonance charging system that not only provides a fast and sufficient supply of power, but it also prevents against energy loss. Resonance charging is based on the idea that when two independent energy coils (one from the charger, and one from the device being charged) resonate on the same frequency, power can be transferred more easily and efficiently. According to Wired, HEVO’s new system is classed as a Level 2 charging station, an ideal energy port for smaller electric vehicles. The system is composed of three main parts:

  • The Station: The main power station, which is designed to look like a manhole cover, can be easily bolted to the street or embedded into the pavement. This device takes up less space and can be replicated throughout the city without backing up traffic.
  • The Receiver: This simple attachment connects the power station to the vehicle’s battery and allows the two coils to resonate at the same frequency.
  • The App: Perhaps the most innovative feature of the HEVO system, the HEVO smartphone app helps the user line up his or her vehicle with the charging station, and also monitors the charging process. This app also allows the user to pay wirelessly.


Future Applications

After the new system’s successful implementation, the people at HEVO also plan to create additional systems for commercial and even military use:

  • Commercial Fleets: One of the biggest complaints in the commercial shipping industry is the inefficiency associated with keeping the gas tank full. HEVO hopes to fix that problem by installing larger commercial-grade charging stations (called “Green Loading Zones”) at company loading/unloading docks, or other predetermined stops along delivery routes. They are already in preliminary talks with Walgreens, City Harvest, and PepsiCo.
  • Military Convoys: In a warzone, the crucial seconds spent keeping a military vehicle properly fueled can sometimes be the difference between life and death. HEVO’s solution not only limits the need for petroleum-based fuel, but also decreases military shipping costs on fuel. It provides a hands-free system that allows soldiers to focus on more important matters.


While HEVO’s system is not yet available to the public, hopes are high. Many personal vehicles do not yet operate on a resonance charging system, and tapping into the NYC power grid can be a long and involved process. However, if you live in a big city, don’t be surprised if you start noticing a few more manhole covers dotting the streets in the next couple of years.

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    Greener Ideal strives to help you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips, healthy recipes and commentary on the latest environment news. The views expressed by guest authors are their own and may not reflect those of Greener Ideal.

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