PhD opportunity: Wireless Charging of Roadway EVs

The Power Electronics Research group at the University of Auckland's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is one of the recognised world leaders in the development of resonant inductive power transfer systems for applications, ranging from biomedical to industrial, consumer electronics and electric transportation. Our research has been adopted by industry leaders on a global scale, including Daifuku (in materials handling and clean factory automation), Qualcomm-Halo (in the development of wireless charging of transportation systems), Apple (for charging of consumer electronics) and IPT Technology (in materials handling and bus charging applications).


Development of Robust Magnetic and Electronics Systems for Roadway IPT

The NZ government has recently recognised the critical importance that wireless power brings to the uptake of electric vehicles and the associated benefits that accrue as a consequence including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved urban air quality. They have provided substantial funding over a 5 year period to enable a large multidisciplinary team to work together to develop robust roadway-charging systems for EVs, enabling vehicles to pick up charge from the roadway itself, when they are parked, stopped at the lights, or moving along a special charging lane.  The team comprises experts from the power electronics research group, the centre for advanced composite materials, transportation research and economics at the University of Auckland together with Materials engineering at GNS and Victoria University in Wellington.  The research includes international connections with other academic institutions such as the Utah State University, and our industry partners.

Implementation of IPT charging pads into a roadway infrastructure relies upon the development of novel electronic, magnetic and mechanical designs, which are thermally and mechanically robust. This durability should not be at the expense of system performance while catering for operation under extreme conditions. Current charging pad designs utilise weak and brittle materials such as Ferrite and Litz Wire, while electronics employed in existing IPT systems are fragile. A key objective of this research is, therefore, to consider magnetic structures that improve the use of existing materials or utilise new materials, improved electronics and sound mechanical protection schemes to achieve a robust system that meets performance requirements, while minimising cost.

As part of this larger project the power electronics research group, has one or two fully funded PhD opportunity available working within this internationally significant and connected, multidisciplinary team.


Areas of focus for potential students

  • Analysis and simulation of pad designs suitable for roadway IPT
  • Analysis and simulation of power electronics and control schemes for roadway IPT
  • Analysis and simulation of thermal stresses and failure mechanisms
  • Design and construction of a test system
  • Experimental testing under static, dynamic and fatigue scenarios


Financial details

  • A tax free stipend @ $27K per-annum (pa) plus tuition and students services fess and health insurance
  • Research related costs including conference travel up to $6000 pa


Required qualifications

  • BE degree with 1st class honours
  • Experience in power electronic circuit design
  • ME degree specialising in power electronics preferred
  • Evidence of an outstanding academic track record, research skills and technical writing


How to apply

Applicants are to contact Seho Kim (copying Professor Grant Covic and Dr. Duleepa Thrimawithana) via email with the following, ideally before 5 January 2018:

  • An academic CV including your relevant experience and publications
  • Copy of degree certificate(s)
  • A 1-2 page cover letter stating why the applicant intends to pursue a PhD in Roadway IPT
  • Names and contact details of at least 2 referees who can be contacted for a confidential recommendation


Contact information: