Looking to the future

Ready for remote diagnostics and inductive charging?

Published:  03 December, 2013

By Garry Lovett, Snap-on Diagnostics

Normal charging typically takes between six and eight hours, which has led to the development of high current systems to reduce charge time down to between three and four hours. We will also see the introduction of 'induction coupling', where wireless charging takes place between a floor pad and an under vehicle adapter, making it much more convenient and flexible as all that needs to be done is park over a charging plate and the EV can be charged without the need to connect it directly to the power supply. It's also likely that we will see electric buses being continuously charged by induction coupling from a track laid in the road surface. Such systems have already been put in place in some countries and can be seen as the logical successors to 'trolley buses' which older readers may remember.

If we look at how humans now interact with cars utilising technology such as voice communication and gesture control, couple this with systems such as 360º cameras, self-parking systems and telemetry, it's clear that a great deal of reliance is now being placed on a vehicle's networking capability. Changes are also coming in this area, using Ethernet for diagnostics or 'DoIP'. The use of weight-saving composite materials, such as fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) and carbon fibre chassis components, in addition to body panels being used as batteries, gives a clear indication of how the vehicle manufacturers are moving the car into the 21st century - and that's without looking at the advent of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and flex fuel vehicles.

At this point, some of you are wondering what these acronyms mean. Well, our industry loves wallowing in an alphabet soup of these letters so I would strongly recommend utilising the wealth of information available on the internet and doing some research, as all of this technology is just around the corner. While you're searching, look up NOx sensors and ammonia sensors, as they are a major component of selective catalytic reduction (SCR), which becomes a requirement on forthcoming Euro 6 compliant diesel vehicles. Times are changing, with new EV's coming next year and some manufacturers already planning commercial sales of fuel cell vehicles as early as 2015.

As a result, workshops will soon be facing new challenges, virtually all of which are driven by either the customer or the environment. This also means even greater reliance on computer aided diagnostics and poses the risk of technicians struggling to keep up.

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