US DOE to fund wireless charging technology research of Hyundia-Kia, Mojo Mobility

Article by Andrew Christian, on July 13, 2015

A funding grant has been awarded to Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, Inc., (HATCI) and wireless power technology firm Mojo Mobility, Inc. for the research and development of a system that can fast charge an EV through wireless means. The grant was given by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Vehicle Technologies (VT) program.

Mojo Mobility is famous for having developed very efficient wireless charging systems that can transfer high power even when the charger and the vehicle are not precisely aligned. HATCI president Sung Hwan Cho said that it is “honoured” to be chosen as a DOE partner. He said that innovations like this goes well with a core goal, which is to “create a vehicle experience that is intuitive and easy for the consumer."

Kia's first electric vehicle in the U.S. – the all-new 2015 Kia Soul EV – was recently launched. It proves the point further that there is an increasing demand for electro-mobility, which is crucial to lessening the petroleum consumption in the U.S. transportation sector. It will be much more convenient to owners of EVs if wireless charging technology becomes available.

It raises its appeal as well as acceptance among buyers. As a result, battery pack sizes may be made to be smaller and vehicle weight may be reduced. There will be three phases for this project by HATCI and Mojo Mobility to develop, implement and demonstrate a wireless power transfer system on a test fleet of Kia Soul EVs.

Specifically, this project will be accomplished at HATCI in Superior Twp., Mich., and then at Mojo Mobility in Santa Clara, California. Dr. Afshin Partovi, CEO and founder of Mojo Mobility, talked about how “delighted” the company was to team up with Kia and the DOE in the U.S. to offer the leading-edge capabilities of its position-free wireless charging systems, which lead to more flexibility for vehicle alignment with the charging surface.

He said that he hopes that this will result to more customers and a heightened convenience for them. In Phase One, the collaboration built a wireless power transfer system that offers more than 85% grid-to-vehicle efficiency. It has the capability of shifting more than 10 kW to the vehicle for fast charging. This new system makes charging easier and more convenient because it charges even when the energy transmitter on the ground and the energy receiver on the vehicle are misaligned.

During Phase Two, the partnership worked together to integrate a compact system that has been optimized for the Soul EV and exhibit full operation at a record 92% efficiency. For the third and last phase of the project, five Kia Soul EVs and their respective energy transmission units will be tested to gather real-world performance data. This last phase will conduct tests for the durability, interoperability, safety, and performance of the system. There has been no announcement yet from KMA or Mojo Mobility on when this system may be bought.

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