Charging Lanes & Charging Pads

Charging lane for electric vehicles

Is EV wireless charging closer than you think?

The idea of wireless charging has been mentioned in tandem with the electric car market for some time now. We have seen plans to introduce wireless charging systems on highways, but so far it has proved challenging, to say the least. Behind-the-scenes there is no doubt that millions of dollars are being poured into this particular area of the market and it now appears we may be closer than many people might assume.

General Motors and WiTricity

Electric Vehicle Charging Pad

While General Motors has something of a patchy record when it comes to electric vehicles, the recent announcement of a partnership with WiTricity could be a game changer. The two companies are working on a wireless charging system for electric vehicles. The idea is that electric car users would park their vehicles over a “charging pad” and their batteries would recharge with no physical connection between the charging pad and the electric car. Drivers would simply, "drive up and charge." 

While you would expect companies such as General Motors to be very protective of any technological developments in this field, the company seems to be taking a different approach this time around. The hope is that the system will be licensed to work on any compatible vehicle no matter the manufacturer. On the surface, this seems to be a meaningful step forward for the industry, but it would also place General Motors and WiTricity in a position going forward.

Other competing companies

While General Motors and WiTricity are certainly grabbing the headlines at the moment let us not forget that companies such as Qualcomm, with its halo concept, and Toyota are very active in this space as well. The Halo wireless charging concept is expected to be up and running by 2017. Although, the Toyota technology appears to be lagging at this moment. Rumor has it that Toyota has already signed up as a potential licensee of the General Motors/WiTricity prototype. It sure sounds like a winning strategy for Toyota. 

There will also be many other technology companies working behind the scenes to push their technology forward before making public announcements. Just a few years ago wireless charging of electric vehicles was seen as “pie in the sky, ” but there is no doubt it will eventually hit the market, and it could be as soon as 2017.

Is wireless charging the answer?

It would appear that the more developed wireless charging systems revolve around parking bays and charging pads, but there are talks of wireless charging systems covering specific lengths of a motorway. You heard me right, entire lanes and pieces of a highway as one big charging pad. Now this, "charge as you drive" idea, if possible, is the holly grail in charging station technology. Let’s not forget the home charging market which has the potential to grow significantly in the short, medium and longer term. How easy would it be to park up your car and recharge via a built-in wireless charging pad?

Slowly but surely the idea of wireless charging is moving towards an inevitability as opposed to a concept idea. There are some prototypes available today, and it is quite literally becoming a race to market. The next 12 to 24 months will be interesting for this area of the electric car charging market and could quite literally be a game changer if promises are met.