Audi Wireless Charging Options To Be Launched In 2017

2 years ago by Mark Kane 23

Audi wireless charging

Audi wireless charging

Audi e-tron quattro concept

Audi e-tron quattro concept

Audi attracted a lot of attention by announcing 150 kW DC fast charging for its future all-electric cars recently in LA.

That’s three times higher power than the most commonly used 50 kW for Combo chargers, and it will be developed and implemented by several German carmakers at the same time. A nationwide network of 150 kW chargers will be built in the U.S.

But at some point in 2017, Audi intends to also offer wireless charging too.  Wireless charging tech is currently offered as an after-market option with some high volume plug-in cars, but no OEM has yet of offer the solution.

We imagine if you can afford a Q6 e-tron quattro, paying a little extra for the wireless option for home charging won’t be a problem, right?

Power output will be just 3.6 kW initially (which is not much for the 95 kWh battery found in the Q6 e-tron), but will go up to 11 kW later. In our opinion any home system should be capable of fully recharging the owner’s EV of choice in an overnight session.

Despite the advancement of technology, the floor plate still needs to raise the primary coil to improve the efficiency by shortening the distance mechanically.

“Audi wireless charging – wireless charging with alternating current
DC fast charging is virtually impossible in the private infrastructure due to the limited grid power. AWC (Audi wireless charging) is an inductive AC charging technology Audi is developing as an alternative that also makes home charging extremely convenient. The company hopes to launch AWC in 2017.

With AWC, the energy is transferred via a floor charging plate connected to the electric grid. The plate has an integrated primary coil and an inverter (AC/AC converter). Connected to a 16 ampere, single-phase outlet, the first-generation system offers a charging power of 3.6 kW, with higher powers of up to 11 kW possible in the next version.

When the customer approaches to within a few meters of the charging plate with his Audi e‑tron, the plate establishes radio contact with the car. The driver then sees the precise position of the floor plate on the display. Charging can begin immediately after proper positioning or according to a timer. With the piloted parking systems Audi is currently developing for production use, the car handles positioning itself. The driver can get out of the car and then initiate the parking procedure remotely via her smartphone.

Prior to charging, an integrated electric motor in the floor plate raises the primary coil. This minimizes the distance between it and the secondary coil, which is integrated into the front section of the Audi e‑tron floor pan, regardless of the specific vehicle. The floor plate’s alternating electromagnetic field induces an alternating current in the car’s secondary coil across the air gap. An AC/DC converter inverts the current, which is then fed into the high-voltage electrical system. There it charges the battery and powers additional consumers such as the heating or air conditioning as needed. The driver can interrupt the charging process at any time, and charging stops automatically when the battery is full.

Because the alternating field is only generated when a car is over the plate and the coil is active, there is no risk to people or animals. The small air gap prevents the magnetic field from interfering with electronic devices.

The first generation of the AWC technology is ideal for use in home garages or office building parking garages. A later version can be integrated in a modified form into the public infrastructure, such as into the asphalt of roads and parking lots.”

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23 responses to "Audi Wireless Charging Options To Be Launched In 2017"

  1. Tech01x says:

    and the inductive charging losses are…? That is the most important aspect of wireless charging. In aggregate, how many gigawatt hours of electricity would be lost?

    1. Mikael says:

      It’s rather pretty irrelevant. Most wireless charging solutions for EVs have been close to 90% efficient or above.

      1. Tech01x says:

        10% additional losses is a lot to pay for only a smidgen of added convenience. The option itself won’t be cheap. Maybe for taxi’s at a taxi stand where leaving at a moment’s notice is important, but for home charging, this makes no sense.

        1. Marcel says:

          Some people won’t care about the 10% loss. Wireless charging with the added convenience that the car parks itself will be quite convincing to a lot of people, but not everyone. In addition it’ll become cheaper and better so more people will consider it.

        2. Mikael says:

          Nope, it’s fairly little to pay. It’s not even 10 cents per day for the extra electricity.
          The charger itself will not cost much extra (well a few coils basically makes it a handful of dollars extra) compared to when you get a regular charger.

          So the convenience makes perfect sense and everyone will have this at home. It’s like having buttons on a TV, of course you don’t need a remote but when you have the option and it already comes with the TV of course you will use it and not go to the TV and use the buttons on it unless you have to.

          I guarantee you that almost everyone that has a house/garage and an EV will go wireless. It’s not really up for discussion, it’s just the way it will be. 🙂

          Even if cars wouldn’t be able to park themselves this will be the future. But it’s even more guaranteed to be this way considering that the car will park itself and charge wireless after dropping the “driver” off at the house.

          1. Dan says:

            Rather than the home charging scenario, the more likely use would be in public spaces. Imagine rolling into a public spot and not having to worry about the right kind of cable, which side it should fit in, whether it gets locked in place, etc. At home, it doesn’t make it all that much more convenient – your cables are your cables. You know how they work and where they fit on your car.

            1. Mikael says:

              No. The most likely place to use it is at home.

              Doing it anywhere but home requires most likely rebuilding, you should have compatible systems, the plate should be in the same place in cars, you should match it etc.
              It’s too much problem and very little gain.

              It’s possible if it’s a fleet of cars owned by a company (for example TAXIs) but still unlikely.

              We will see this at home, and in most homes.

        3. SJC says:

          this makes no sense…
          Tell that to all the people who buy it.
          There is a 10% loss in a lithium ion battery pack…makes no sense?

    2. Bill Howland says:

      Their losses will be a lot less since the ‘elevator in the floor’ will lift the charging pad up against the car.

      SO here is my question – why have the inductive crap at all? Why not just have a ‘forgiving’ male and female plug mate after parking the car? The thing could have some sort of optical indexing scheme to get the unit x-y-z into the correct plane for mating, and a motorized cover on both the car and ‘launch pad’ would keep the connectors and optics relatively clean. A little brush on each door would clean the optics with each operation.

      Of course, the same ‘elevator’ could be conceivable with the existing J1772’s. Or a variation with the Tesla Snake.

      I’m sure people are working on some variation of one-of-the-above.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        Like Bill, I think that if you have a mechanical movement any way, you can as well have a contact based automatic charging system. I would even make it simpler with two plates on a bumper made of plastic that come into contact with metal contacts on flexible supports under the front of the car. Proper control electronics and differential ensuring security.

      2. Priusmaniac says:

        The ev all have a plug right now without major problem. Eventual replacement is much lower than for an induction system.

        1. Mikael says:

          The cars will of course have both. The plug is not going away, it’s just adding the wireless capability.

      3. wavelet says:

        ++
        I also fail to see the advance of contactless/inductive charging if you have electromechanical mechanism to aim it anyway…
        An optical and/or magnetic mechanism (sort of like Apple’s Magsafe connector for laptops) to mate a ohysical connection should be fairly easy & cheap to do.

  2. MikeM says:

    “Power output will be just 3.6 kW initially (which is not much for the 95 kWh battery found in the Q6 e-tron)”.

    I seem to read this notion quite frequently – that a larger battery somehow defines the need for a higher powered home charging system.

    I don’t buy it.

    I’ll agree that 3.3/3.6 kW seems a bit skimpy.
    But experience has shown me that for day-to-day driving, a given kWh overnight home charge every few days is sufficient no matter what.
    In my case, with a Leaf it’s 13 kWh, (6.5kW x 2 hours).
    If I had a Tesla S90, the equation would be the same except for the efficiency difference. So lets say, for me, 6.5 kW x 3 hours – quite manageable in middle of the night. I would NEVER need to charge up to 90kWh at home.

    “So what about a road trip?” you say. Well, I still only need to charge the night before, sufficiently to get to the nearest supercharger – in my case 35 – 85 mi depending on direction. Then get a good boost for the long haul.

    Obviously YMMV. But I still contend that the “big battery = big home charger” notion is an overstatement – and a product of not thinking it through.

    1. We find this thinking a lot in the EV world, “if it works for my isolated circumstance, then it’s the correct path for everybody else.”

      I assume that for personal use vehicles, if there is an XX size battery, and since ALL humans sleep, that there needs to be the capabilty to fill up during that sleeping period.

      In other words, a 90kWh at 8.6kW (40 amps * 240 volts at 90% efficiency) will take more than 10 hours… which is marginal, but what I have at home using a JESLA every night.

      I never want to wake up to a half filled car to begin a long trip.

  3. M. St. J. says:

    So Audi is going to build a supercharger network!!!

  4. Forever green says:

    “Prior to charging, an integrated electric motor in the floor plate raises the primary coil. This minimizes the distance between it and the secondary coil”. This is the most important part of the news. By reducing the distance between the primary coil and the secondary coil, they will reduce the energy loss.

    1. Omar Sultan says:

      I dunno, the original paddle chargers had essentially zero distance and the efficiency still left something to be desired.

      1. Chris C. says:

        Dude, those paddle inductive interfaces are from 20 years ago. Insert obvious analogy here.

  5. Bloggin says:

    Ford keeps getting left out of these announcements, when Ford of Europe is part of the CharIN e.V. Initiative, along with BMW, VW, GM(Opal).

    Wolfgang Selle is their representative:

    “Wolfgang Selle is responsible for E-Mobility, EV-Infrastructure & Standardisation within Ford of Europe (FoE). He joined FoE in 1988 and held a number of positions within Manufacturing and Product Development. In 1988 he took over the strategic planning for large cars within Powertrain Planning. Since 2009 he has been in charge of different functions within Electric Vehicle and EV-Infrastructure. He represents FoE in public bodies like VDA and NPE. “

  6. Bloggin says:

    I expect that Lincoln does not have a plug-in vehicle now because Lincoln was waiting for the wireless charging to be available for the Luxury consumer.

    I expect to hear more about this from Ford and Lincoln at NAIAS in January. Many big electrification announcements are expected.

  7. Dag says:

    Why is there no mention at all of the efficiency (or lack thereof) of this system? If it wastes half the energy it should be a no go.

  8. Loboc says:

    I am seriously considering a wireless charger for my ELR. Just because it’s cooler. Yeah, it probably takes longer to align the pad than plug in, but, so what?

    Cool is better. Even if it’s less convenient.