Wireless charging for electric vehicles is closer than we think. Qualcomm Halo, developers of the technology in conjunction with auto makers, claim that this kind of charging will be available for use by the public as early as 2017.
A prototype of the system was revealed in the BMW i8 and i3 safety and medical response cars for the first season of the Formula E championship. These cars need to be instantly ready to be pressed into action, and as a result conventional plug-in charging was not a feasible option.
Dr Anthony Thompson, vice president of business development and marketing for Qualcomm Halo, told Auto Express, "We're in discussions at some level with all of the major companies developing electric vehicles, and some requests for quotations have already gone out. We'd expect to see the system on a production car by 2017."
How much more a car with wireless charging is going to cost over its regular plug-in counterparts is not known at the moment, but the system will debut first in high-end luxury vehicles, and eventually trickle down to more models.
The cable-free system uses two charging pads, one on the ground and one on the car. Power sent to the ground pad's coiled wires creates a powerful magnetic field which transfers the energy to the car pad. The batteries are then recharged after the transferred power is converted to DC.
Wireless charging is currently possible over a maximum gap of around 150mm, and is impressively capable of 90 percent efficiency, in comparison to 95 percent efficiency of regular cable charging systems.
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