Wireless mats expected to replace the classic chargers for EVs and hybrids

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 6, 2012

The way that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have to be charged now is quite messy with cords that could get tangled or dirty. This is one reason why the market hasn’t exactly warmed up to the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf yet. Right now, the vehicles have to be plugged in to get the battery recharged. Several companies are working on ways to recharge the battery wirelessly with a mat that is on the floor. The coils on the car’s undersides turn on the charger when the car is parked on top of the mats. The mats are plugged in but the car isn’t. It’s believed that the chargers would be available for sale sometime 2015. Phil Gott, an IHS Automotive analyst who specializes in powertrain research, said that those who bought the initial batches of the Volt and Leaf would complain about the cords.

He said that a wireless charger provides “total freedom.” He said that automakers are working on these vehicles to comply with regulatory pressure to increase mileage and cut emissions. In a survey last year, Deloitte LLP said that about 96% of consumers worldwide won’t even consider electric and plug-in vehicles. Deloitte said that potential buyers are turned off by the price, the driving range, and charging time (which takes from three to over eight hours.

Tesla Motors said that it is near to announcing a plugged-in "supercharger" network that could re-power a car in shorter than one hour. Tesla had recently delivered its first wholly company-built sedans last week. There are several companies that are developing wireless chargers. They include Nissan Motor Co., Delphi Automotive Plc, Volkswagen AG's Audi, Toyota Motor Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Qualcomm Inc., Evatran LLC, and Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH & Co. General Motors (which builds the Volt) had made a $5 million investment in a private company dubbed Powermat. Procter & Gamble Co. and Jay-Z joined it last year.

Topics: electric car, hybrid

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