SIMULATING THE CHARGING OF AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE BY LASER
Laser power transfer (LPT) is a wireless power transfer technique which can be used for the charging of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and satellites. This research examines the potential of high-power laser transfer for the charging of electric vehicles (EVs). In this thesis, we describe the implementation of a MATLAB based circuit simulation of the charging of EVs by LPT. Existing wired and wireless charging methods have drawbacks, including short charging ranges and long charging times. Recent developments in photovoltaic (PV) cells and laser technology suggest that the transfer of power using light can overcome some of the issues associated with these other charging methods. This thesis describes the enabling technology required for LPT-EV charging and explains why a wavelength of 808nm is best suited for high power transfer. A specialized, highly efficient PV cell is described that can tolerate the required high-intensity laser beam. We also discuss some of the environmental factors affecting LPT-EV charging such as atmospheric attenuation and module temperature. A numerical method developed in MATLAB simulates the implementation of the laser, the PV cells. This study includes an examination of the effect of various input power levels and temperatures on the PV panel. In addition, a comparison of a uniform (or “top hat”) circular-beam and a Gaussian distribution is shown here to maximize the efficiency at the receiver. The research also examines the overall efficiency of the LPT for various input power-levels; it shows that using this technique with existing technology, a charging time of about 2 hours for a Tesla Model S or X can be achieved with an overall efficiency between 10% and 37%. The thesis also discusses the safety of LPT technology since it uses Class 4 lasers. Based on the performance of this model, some suggestions are made for future work.