You might have caught the news that Nissan is planning to invest some £200 million into electric car manufacture - incidentally creating 350 jobs in a battery production factory in Sunderland - but for those of us up on technology there's another angle to the story that's worth a look. Nissan's Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) is likely to come complete with inductive (read: wireless) charging.
The ZEV, which will be launching in the US and Japan next year, with a Europe left wait until 2010, is planned to offer a 100 mile range from a full charge, and as with all battery estimates real world performance is likely to be lower. At first induction charging would be limited to wireless charging bays for topping-up the ZEV's battery away from a 'primary' charging point.
Nissan even suggests that eventually electric car lanes could be fitted with induction charging strips, enabling cars to be powered while on the move. Such an implementation of induction charging is not likely any time soon as the cost will likely be prohibitive, to say the least.
Nissan is also looking into fast-charging technology, enabling quick boosts to its electric cars' batteries in appropriate sites. The idea, says Nissan Europe's general manager of product strategy and planning, Larry Haddad, would be that "while you're shopping, or having a cup of tea, the battery will refill to 80% of its capacity, in about 25 minutes."
If this fast-charging can be combined with widespread induction charging points then Nissan is definitely on to a winner. For now, however, induction charging is likely to remain limited to the bathroom and "magic toothbrush" (as my young cousin calls it) type gadgets where the limitations aren't an issue.