Wireless charging has long been a buzzword in the world of technology, especially electric cars. In recent projections based on the studies conducted by Pike Research, the sales of wireless charging technology would jump to more than 280,000 starting 2013, peaking at 2020.
The think tank identified several points of growth, such as the increasing partnerships between several electric vehicle companies and manufacturers that fuels both the demand and innovations in the technology.
The technology is quite simple and operates when an electric car parks over a ground pad. This in turn creates an electromagnetic field that is convertedinto electric current in the car in order to charge the battery. There are no wires involved in this process and ground pads can even be embedded in structures and roadways to make the process much more accessible to all.
This is one of the areas that can tremendously influence future car purchases, as this would create a “park and forget” mentality, allowing for continuous charging without the active knowledge of the car owner. The potential for frequent stops where wireless charging is available could help in alleviating many consumers ‘range anxiety’ with electric cars.
There is also great importance in the market itself for this kind of technology as several large technology and car manufacturers have started to form partnerships specifically to undertake research and create wireless charging systems. One such example is BMW, which has forged agreements with Siemens on wireless charging. Audi, Mitsubishi and Toyota have a consortium with WiTriCity and Delphi, while Qualcomm has partnered with Renault and Delta Motorsports. Evatran has also entered into research agreements with Google and Hertz.
Nissan has taken great measure in integrating the wireless technology with its new models, such as allowing the vehicle to park itself to be able to fully utilize and be efficient with regards to wireless technology. This is showcased in the newest Infiniti electric sub compact and would become available by 2015. The Japanese automaker has stated that its system is between eighty to ninety percent efficient, which is not far from standard wired charging.
There have been pockets of usage for wireless recharging technology. Italian bus companies have been using it for over ten years now, with each stop able to recharge up to fifteen percent of battery capacity. This is predicted to have the best utilization in other public transportation platforms, such as electric taxis.
Despite its great promise there are still some limitations, such as changing infrastructure to allow the integration of wireless pads in roads and motorways, as well as the retrofitting of current electric vehicles to become compatible with the newer charging technology. This is in reality the ‘next big thing’ that is already here, providing great solutions for many issues in choosing electric car technology. As more and more companies and consortiums become focused on the technology, the next generation of electric carts would certainly provide better options for the electric car connoisseur.