By Ky Sealy
Weekend chores inevitably take me to the garage. Tinkering with my car. Getting the lawn mower ready for the weekly grass cutting. Or, this time of year, preparing the snow blower for the unavoidable first winter snow. This got me thinking … how does wireless charging impact everything in my garage – or not?
The first thing that comes to mind is my car radio and “ham” (amateur) radio. Yes, I sit in my car (or tinker in the garage) and listen to the radio and yes, I’m an Amateur Extra “Ham” Operator. (Interesting aside … the term “ham” has been used to describe amateur radio operators since the early to mid- 1900’s and is a backronym for “Hobby Amateur”.) I digress, so back to my question!
First, all electronics are required to meet electromagnetic standards to ensure other radio devices aren’t appreciably impacted. In the case of the U.S., the FCC regulates electromagnetic emissions from most devices under FCC’s (Title 47) Parts 18 and 15. Yes, all electronics – whether wireless or not – have emissions. Those emissions are required to be below certain values to prevent harmful interference to other radio transmissions. I’m happy to say that WiTricity sits on many standards boards and has helped develop standards for wireless charging. I’m also happy to report that wireless charging has no more impact on your car or ham radio than your nearby laptop charging. In fact, you can sit in your car, while it’s charging (or tinker in the garage) and listen to your car radio at the same time. No problem! And as for my ham hobby, there’s no impact to my QSO’s (a ham word for contacting over the air) either. The United States provided a study (see annex 12) on amateur radio and wireless charging to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the results showed no effect.
I then looked up and thought, “What about my garage door? Do I have to worry about the door going up and down while my car is charging?” That’s another no. The garage door communicates at a substantially different frequency than the operation of a wireless EV charger. In fact, the wireless EV charger also uses Wi-Fi for communication – no effect there either. Leaf blower, lawnmower and snowblower? Those are all electric so, although they might charge wirelessly or operate with a battery, they’re not impacted by my car’s charging either.
Anyone who experiences winter understands how road salt impacts a car’s finish (not to mention the dirt that comes from slush and melting snow). So, with winter approaching, I’ll be washing my car more – in my garage. That raises another question, “Can I wash my car in the garage with a wireless charger?” Yes! Wireless EV charging is IP (Ingress Protection) rated with a high rating for dust and water. This means that water and dust won’t get into the ground-pad (IP68) and the wall-box is rated so that you could accidentally splatter it with a hose (IP54 – no high pressure!) and it won’t affect the system.
As I stepped outside to mow the lawn one more time before winter, I was blinded by the brilliant sunshine. I was excited for that extra dose of Vitamin D and also excited basking in the knowledge that my solar panels were reducing my energy bill. Knowing that vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and vehicle-to-home (V2H) is possible with my electric car and wireless charging keeps me excited to come to work the following Monday … but more about that in my next blog!
Ky Sealy is an Engineering Fellow at WiTricity. He is a world-renowned expert in the field of wireless power transfer and is currently involved as an expert or in a leadership role in multiple standards organizations such as SAE, IEC, CISPR, ITU-R, AirFuel Alliance, and others. Ky represents the United States as a wireless power expert and delegate for many of these standards and consults administrations on related matters including electromagnetic emissions, compatibility, and exposure amongst other topics.