136: Getting Charged Up – Talking Wireless EV Charging

Matt and Sean discuss wireless EV charging and extreme reactions to technologies that challenge our life experience. 

Watch the Undecided with Matt Ferrell episode, “Why Wireless Charging May Be the Future of EVs”: https://youtu.be/s8EF7ZGORS0?list=PLnTSM-ORSgi4dFnLD9622FK77atWtQVv7

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On today’s episode of still to be determined. We’re gonna talk about why getting a parking spot at the mall is gonna get a lot more difficult. Everybody as usual. I’m Sean Ferrell. I’m a writer. I write some sci-fi or it’s some stuff for kids. And I’m also curious about new technology. And luckily for me, my brother is Matt of undecided with Matt far.

Which of course talks about tech and it’s impacting our lives. And with me as usual is Matt, Matt, how you doing today?

I’m I’m good. How you doing

Sean? I’m doing okay. It’s a pretty quiet weekend here in New York city. I don’t know what it’s like, where you are, but the fall weather seems to be. Peeking its head around the corner and it feels, yeah, like a nice little respite.

I am of course, anticipating that it is gonna skyrocket it’s 95 degrees at any moment. But until that happens, I’m just gonna enjoy the cooler weather. Yes. So as I mentioned today, we’re gonna be talking about Matt’s most recent episode, which has to do. Breakthroughs and electric vehicle charging. But before we get into that, I wanted to share a comment from a previous episode.

This is from our episode on light focusing solar panel tech. And there was this that was shared from S Oberlin who wrote as a designer working on path of house net zero and net zero. Ready buildings. This kind of technology is always interesting. We primarily work on buildings between 50 and 55 degrees north latitude.

Leading a roof to be designed for solar capture, to be quite steep. There is always a marginal impact in getting the correct pitch, but there’s also seasonal tweaking to be accounted for whether you are looking at peak annual production versus maximizing monthly averages in peak demand seasons. This is critical since summer production is usually 50 to 60% higher than winter months, but our peak demand.

Is in the winter months. And that was an aspect that hadn’t really occurred to me. When we last talked about this. The very time when people are looking for this to be most effective is when it is going to be least effective. So,

yes. What do you do? I I’m I’m I, I love that comment. The, the, the knowledge he’s dropping mm-hmm and that kind of ties into like my new house.

I’m getting a system sized out for it. I think I’m gonna need on the new house. and in the discussions with the, uh, installer, I was like, could you gimme a breakdown of what you’re anticipating month to month? And I gave him my anticipations of what I was gonna get month to month, cuz I was crunching my own numbers.

And he said, you’re, you’re very close to what it actually is. And it’s amazing to get even remotely close to what I need in the middle of winter. The amount of energy I’d be producing in the middle of July is like twice as much as I’m gonna possibly need. Right. So it’s like I’m way overproducing in the middle of July.

Right. Just so that, and that’ll be going back to the point won’t

even. The way your system is set up. Yes. That’ll be going into the

grid. Yes. So it’s gonna go into a battery storage and then whatever, can’t go into the battery. We’ll go into the grid in the middle of winter. It’s like, I’m trying to get about a thousand kilowatt hours per month, a thousand to 1200.

And at best in the middle, like December and January, I’m gonna get something like one of the months he’s anticipating like 650 kilowatt hours and the next month is like 400. Right. But then in July I’m gonna be doing like 2,200 kilowatt hours. Right. It’s like, God.

So you could just leave lights on 24 hours a day and not even worry about it.

It’s exactly. Yeah.

But when I need it, the most, which is in the dead winner.

Yeah. Not gonna happen. No go. So yeah, just like this is off the track of our normal routine for this program where we stay yeah. To the newest episode for the most part. But I am curious, I imagine that large scale energy producers.

would be looking at long term storage that would allow for, well, we’re getting. We’re maximizing our energy production from solar during the summer months. Mm-hmm and looking at ways, how do we store this, capture this, and store it to be able to slowly release it during the winter months when it’s gonna be more needed.

Mm-hmm so what could you

think? So,

yeah, you, I hope so. I hope so. I hope that’s what these, for the most part, the

answer is

no, I, I would hope that that’s what they’re looking at, you know, like you’ve shared on your channel, a number of different things, everything from. Air being used, you know, transitioning air to different storage techniques so that you can pressurize air or even freeze it so that you end up with the ability to release that captured energy at a later date, those are all large storage, industrial techniques.

Is there anything you could do in your home? That would store some of this other than, I mean, obviously you could fill a garage or a warehouse with batteries and just store your own energy over time in a ridiculous way. Yeah. But is there anything you can do that would help you capture some of this energy long term

for like seasonal storage?

Yeah, no, no, I have not. I have not come across a single thing that would be feasible for, uh, a residence. Because like for like the sand battery, we talked about one of the things that makes that work is the sheer scale of it. Yeah. It’s like the more like mass you get the longer, it will retain its heat.

It’s like you put a coffee cup on your, your table. It’s gonna be cold in 20 minutes. But if you had something that’s like a thousand gallon tank of coffee yeah. Which is a lot of coffee, it’s gonna retain that heat much longer

just cause the, it sounds like a lot of coffee, but when I start drinking it, it really, it doesn’t turn out to be that

much, not so much.

Not not for you. Yeah.

You’d be surprised. Yeah. That seems like a, that’s an interesting gap in the market. Mm-hmm and not that something mm-hmm I think right now it seems to me like, it seems fairly common sense to say right now. Well, I can see why that gap exists and it’s not gonna be filled anytime soon.

But I do. I am curious about what it might look like 50 years from. For home energy storage that might include that kind of seasonal storing, what might that, what might fill that gap? And it might be something as simple as just like batteries. I mean, it could be something as simple as, you know, tech that we currently see, but just made more efficient and long term.

But I am wondering about other options and maybe, maybe even community options, maybe neighborhoods linked up to a central storage. That might be that kind of seasonal. Um, the impact, the one thing

that’s a controversial answer would be hydrogen that some people will shout out cuz hydrogen, you can create it in the summer with the excess that you don’t need and you could store it for months and months and months until you need it in the middle of winter.

So you could use hydrogen energy storage as a technique for something like this. But then again, people freak out cuz hydrogen is extremely flammable. Right? So that people would be

concerned about that. It’s like, what’s your address? Why live right down here in the Hindenburg? It. It’s next to that radio tower.

You just look for that and you’ll, I’ll send up a flair. Yep. So Matt’s most recent episode that we’re gonna chat about today in detail is why wireless charging, maybe the future of EVs. This episode released on September 20th, 2022, Matt. I can’t believe we’re already in fall. I can’t believe we’re in the last part of 20, 22.

And also that we’re almost a quarter of the way through this century. Like what is happening? How did. How did we get here? I don’t know. Yeah. In short, I’m your host and I have no idea what’s going on, but this episode generated, there was a little bit of a firestorm of debate. Around this video. Yeah. Yep.

Certain number of people who are just calling BS and yep. Stomping out the door and saying like, well, that’s it for this channel. I’m never coming back here because this guy’s throwing up numbers that just don’t add up. And mm-hmm, , I’ve known you for a while now. yep. You don’t strike me. It’s just a little while I, you don’t strike me in general as somebody who just throws out, made up numbers.

Anything like that? Nope. So, Nope. I wanted to talk to you about some of the comments in defense of your channel. In defense of this video, particularly there was this from John public profile, who wrote to those that called BS. The international standards organization does not tend to go through the years long process of creating a new standard for something that is a hundred percent B.

There are various companies, universities and organizations that have been researching refining and testing this. I have been watching TV programs and YouTube videos on this for years, such as those by fully charged show. This is not a sudden and unproven vaporware product by some fly by night business.

So to unpack, to unpack some of that, I, instead of focusing on the critics who were saying here’s, mm-hmm, what their problems are. I thought by starting the conversation around this defense of the overall idea of this being quote new would be a good way to approach this. So. he points out and you point out this research has been going on for a while.

This is not something oh, very long while a very long while. Yep. In fact, it predates, I, if I remember correctly, cuz you’ve talked about this tech before we talked, this is actually, if I remember correctly, this is like one of the very first things we discussed on this channel. Yes, it is way back when this, when this channel started.

So. and I would invite people to go back and take a look at that, except for the fact I’m usually embarrassed by things that are that old that involve me. Yes. So don’t go back and look at that. But one of the things, if I recall was this is the use of a, of a scientific understanding that. Predates electric vehicles.

This is not, oh yeah. This is not something that somebody was like, you know, it’d be great for electric vehicles. Let’s figure out if there’s a way to do a thing that could be wireless, wireless, this kind of wireless interaction between the charging plate and the receptor. Is an understood and long existing tech.

It, it just

kind of sat on the shelf, not really being used until the past couple decades. Like we have cheat charging, which is kind of a part of this for your phone. And now we have this magnetic resonance charging being applied for. Electric vehicles. And when electricity actually started as a company, they were actually trying to market this towards consumer electronics.

Like imagine having your phone that you just put it anywhere on your desk. It doesn’t matter where you put it and it charges up. So it’s like, this is a very old idea. That’s been studied for decades. And the, to kind of talk about the critics just a little bit, I always get a bunch of. This is BS on my videos.

And it’s always frustrating when I get that, especially when it’s not constructive criticism. I really love the constructive criticism of people that say, I think this is BS because, and then they have clearly knowledge about what they’re talking about, right? That’s where we all want. And it’s when the people say, oh, this is just BS UN subbing, or, you know, you’re just either spamming or scamming for this company.

It just makes me sad inside. Right? Cause it’s like, you can’t have a public discourse. You can’t do your own research to discover if you actually, this is BS. Yeah. Top of which I found it very perplexing when people were saying this is BS. When I literally drove a car on top of a wireless charger and watched it happen, it’s like, this is a real thing that exists and has existed for a while now.

Right. Took them. To get the standard made. It’s like, this is yeah. Well vetted and

proven. I also think that there’s, I think that, I think there’s a certain amount of comfort and crowds that comes from this. Yeah. And if you’re watching this video and you’re thinking, I don’t really know about this, this seems kind of like shanky to me and yeah.

Then somebody else pops up and says, this is BS. It encourages you to feel a little. Comfortable with also weighing in with this is BS. And I noticed there were a couple of different BS trends within the comments. One was mm-hmm the kind of, this is BS. I’m leaving, which as you pointed out is the non-constructive version of feedback.

Right? And then there was one person in particular who is saying, I work in this industry and here’s why I think it’s BS. And the issue that this person kept crazy were the efficiency numbers. Saying the efficiency is where I’m is where I’m, I’m seeing a major problem. And if I remember correctly, this person was saying efficiency beyond 40% is gonna be an incredible change.

And I do not know how it could possibly have gone from where it currently is. The industry standard. According to this person’s knowledge. Anything above 30% was considered, like, that’s pretty much where we are for this kind of wireless charging to see numbers being claimed above 90%. This person was saying like, I cannot, I cannot fathom how that’s even possible.

So there were then further, you know, debate from other people and somebody weighed in. I believe it was actually the person I, I quoted previously John public profile, who. There’s a problem here when people’s information in debating, whether or not this is true is a completely reliant on, well, I’ve never seen it before.

Yep. Therefore, that’s not true. So I’m wondering about the 90% or higher efficiency that was talked about in how this new tech could work. Those are goal numbers. Those are real numbers, or those are numbers real based on like, and how the real, and those are lab numbers. They are, these are not things that are in, like, we don’t have charging stations, right.

That you can just go try this out on your own yet. Not in the United States. Yeah.

They do exist in other, other areas of the world, like in Korea and stuff like that. So they, they do exist. They’re out there. They’re just not really here in the United States that much yet, but these. Theoretical numbers that are from a lab.

These are just real numbers. It’s like when, when I asked, you know, Alex, he was talking about round trip, like when you’re talking about like the electricity coming in from the grid, going through the inverters, going into the magnetic resonance and coming into the car and going through the, the conversion inside the car, it’s about 92% efficient.

That’s not him saying this is theoretically 92% efficient. It’s this is 92% efficient. So it’s, it’s a statement of fact. and it it’s for me, it, this is always the constant struggle I have with my videos is some of the stuff I’m talking about is new stuff we haven’t seen before, but it’s similar to something that we do know, like we know.

Cheap charging on your phone. And we know it’s not crazy efficient and we know it’s somewhat slower and it kind of wastes a lot of energy through heat. We know that from our experience, it’s the same thing with people saying, oh, well, my iPhone battery is dead after about a year and a half and I have to replace it.

And EV you’re gonna replace the battery pack in a year and a half. It’s like, doesn’t work that way. Right. You can’t apply your experience with a phone battery to your electric vehicle. You can’t, you can’t take what you know about she charging or your you’re charging off like a toothbrush that you put on a little induction charger.

You can’t take that and apply it to this. It’s a D it’s a different kind of arm of the technology and behaves in a different way. Mm-hmm and that’s where I think a lot of people are kind of losing sight of what’s happening. They’re taking what they think they know and applying it to this and calling it bullshit.

Right. And it’s, it’s, it’s frustrating. It’s really frustrating. Cuz you can’t have a constructive conversation. When people kinda lose that site, but I understand where it’s coming from. I totally get where it’s coming from.

Right. It feels a little bit like this butts into one of the issues around science that we’re seeing across the board in our daily lives, which is science has reached a stage where it requires a certain amount of faith.

From the public and it’s, and it feels like we’re in strange territory when appeals to reason require the same kind of leap that a religion would for most people that we don’t have. I couldn’t tell you how these coils work. So I have to go in and the science. Guy has to say, here are my numbers. Here’s what it can do.

And part of me has to say, well, until I can actually live that myself, I have to kind of take it on faith. And it seems like that gap is very hard to accept. Yeah. For some people. That, that uncertainty and the we’re seeing that in our daily lives, across the board, we’ve been going through a pandemic where the idea of what science even is, was part of the debate around how to respond to.

Illness. So it, in a certain way, as you said, the daily life, the daily lived experience of individuals and saying like, well, I’ve charged my phone. I know how batteries work. Yeah. There’s that lack of sense of how different, a sense of scale is how different the underlying technology may even be. I remember.

Conversations you and I had with our grandmother around how a wireless phone would be a benefit to her. Yep. Not a, not a cell phone, just a cordless phone. And there was no, there was no conversation that was going to work until we literally took her to the store and simply bought her a phone, plugged it in, in her home, handed it to her and she heard the dialed tone and she was.

Okay, now I get it. It’s a thing I can hold. And yeah, it feels very much like some of this stuff, we may never end up with charging stations like this because there may be a different breakthrough or a different something in the infrastructure. Right? May change. Charging stations may be built in a way or a breakthrough in fast charging that may make this need completely Moo.

But the fact that the scientists behind it are saying, here’s what we can do. Yeah. Is running headlong into, ah, but I have five senses and I know how the world works and I don’t believe this. So it it’s human nature. Yeah.

It’s human nature. And I would say skepticism is good, but you have to have a healthy amount of skepticism and it’s when you take it to the extreme.

Theranos was a big scam. So everything’s a scam and everything’s BS. Yeah. That’s where it’s getting into an unhealthy territory. So I think we all, no matter where you fall on the, what you think about this tech, I think we all have to kind of challenge our own beliefs and make sure that we’re not putting ourselves too squirly into one box.

Yeah. Of

this is

gonna be the best thing ever. Or this is all BS. We have to challenge

our things thinking on this. Yeah. There was also in the comments, a lot of discussion around. The positive aspects of what this could. For, for people moving forward. I liked this comment from Leo Sal and who wrote to me the most interesting application of this is autonomous charging.

If you live in a place where you cannot have a charging station of your own, you just drive home and then tell the car to drive itself to the closest available wireless charging station charge itself, and then come home. Bingo. That was, that was kind of an eye opening comment for me. Yes. Where I was like, Oh, this isn’t about necessarily the person has the $3,000 cuz as you pointed out in your video, yes.

This is an expensive technology, which would be on top of the actual purchase of the car. Then seeing Leo’s comment like, oh, what if people’s cars simply drove themselves in the middle of the night to charging stations to charge up and charged up so that you went to bed and you only had a quarter battery.

But you woke up and had a full battery so,

so I should have dealt with this directly in the video, but this is why I’m I kept I, the title of the video, the whole point was this could be the future of EVs. And it’s because it unlocks two things I think are extremely important. And one of those is autonomy and it’s not just up a Robax fleet.

It’s of like what? He just laid out. It’s exactly that it’s like, well, what do apartment dwellers? How do they charge their car? Cause there’s not gonna be chargers all over the streets. Well, maybe we don’t need them all over the streets. Maybe we just have a charging location. That’s a, a mile over here and everybody just everybody’s cars just kind of like overnight, just go tootling over there, charge up a little bit and come back and Repar themselves.

It’s like, there’s different things that this could unlock in the coming decades. It’s not gonna be here next year doing that, but it’s like that, that is where this could lead.

Which is just very exciting. Yeah. And especially like you mentioned, you know, apartment dwellers, urban centers, like where I live, this is, you know, they’re doing what they can to put in charging stations.

There’s a few gas stations I know of that have them. There’s a couple of charging stations that are literally just on random city blocks, where they’ve put in a charging location and to recognize like, well, if this tech was implemented and you had. One block was laid out with eight different parking spots that were all this kind of charging station.

And in the middle of the night, how many different cars could, you know? And the, I like the idea too, of, of in the middle of the night, you see a little fleet of cars, all lined up, waiting to take third time to charge. It’s very cute. Nobody’s in them. Yeah. Nobody’s in them. It’s very cute. It’s

a whole bunch of Wally.

Yeah. .

There was also this comment that caught my eye, which was from Adam Little, who wrote for delivery vehicles and public transit vehicles, both of which make regular stops. This could be very transformative, build those vehicles with smaller batteries and then charge them throughout the day. Smaller battery means lower upfront cost for the vehicle and more efficient energy usage when driving due to the reduced.

So, again, that goes hand in hand with, this is not something that necessarily is going to be a neon light. Oh my God. There it is. This could be something that’s just potentially lurking in the background. If it, that delivery vehicle yep. Has a battery that instead of like your passenger car that you buy, you wanna make sure that you’ve got.

As much distance as you need, you know, 300, 400 miles of charge in your car. But if that delivery vehicle is built specked out to shoot for a hundred miles with the understanding of it’s gonna keep topping up during the day. Yep. That’s great. Exactly.

I mean, that was the original intent. When I talked to Alex was a year and a half ago.

Um, he, he uses one example, imagine a taxi cab stand at an airport that you don’t like wear this through all the roads, but you put it along the taxi cab stand, and then you have all these EV taxis as they’re coming in and they’re waiting there further. Their next pickup from the airport. They’re charging up for 10 minutes.

Yeah. While they’re just sitting there. So it’s like the EVs, the EVs, like that can just get little trickle charges whenever they’re just idle ups, trucks, mm-hmm, backing up to pick up their packages and they back up and there happens to be a thing in the parking spot. So as they’re loading the stuff under the truck, it’s topping up.

Yeah. So it’s, there’s all these little ways we can work it in, in a very smart, intelligent way and reduces how much battery we need to

put in the car. And I think we’re gonna end it there with Matt having referenced trickle charges, which just makes me feel very weird about myself. but listeners let us know in the comments or reach out to us through the contact information and the podcast description.

What does it. Take for you to accept claims like this. Can you keep an open mind or is there a point where you simply say, like, I can’t jump that chasm. I need more proof. Let us know what you think effectively. I’m talking about the, your understanding or your willingness to accept things on faith, or do you need that hard evidence in front of you?

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