Over the years, the company was engaged in factory-installed EV wireless charging systems (the first are coming on the market in Asia), and now would like to offer also an aftermarket solution.
The general idea is to launch a limited beta in the US in late 2022, which will be followed by broader availability in 2023.
The WiTricity Halo wireless charging is envisioned as "a complete, end-to-end, and hassle-free charging experience: just park and charge."
The target group (at least initially) is probably home charging (a premium comfort feature) and work charging/fleet charging (like rental cars), as public charging would not make business sense at this stage.
The WiTricity Halo system is an 11 kW unit, which, according to the company's estimates, should be able to replenish up to 35-40 miles of driving range per hour (if the vehicle has an 11 kW onboard charger, we assume).
WiTricity says that the efficiency will be on par with the conventional corded charging method:
"The WiTricity Halo™ upgrade will deliver 11 kW wireless charging, enabling a charge rate that provides up to 35-40 miles of driving range per hour of charging time, a speed and efficiency on par with today’s Level 2 AC plug-in chargers."
The WiTricity Halo upgrade includes three key components:
- the power receiver that is installed on the vehicle
- the wall box that connects to electric power
- and the charging pad that is installed on- or in-ground
Tesla Model 3 demo prototype
Before launching the aftermarket solution, WiTricity developed a demo vehicle - a Tesla Model 3 in October 2021.
"As a preliminary step in developing the WiTricity Halo™ solution, WiTricity has upgraded modern EVs to showcase the experience to consumers. WiTricity’s Tesla Model 3, sporting its distinctive “This Tesla Charges Wirelessly” skin, has been a common sight in Watertown, Massachusetts since October 2021 when it was outfitted with wireless charging."
As we can see in one of the images, on the prototype, there is a small display in front of the driver - but we guess that it's there only because the system is not yet integrated with the infotainment (which would require a partnership with the vehicle manufacturer).
The main question is for what models will the WiTricity Halo upgrade be available? Well, there are two hints. First is - obviously - the Tesla Model 3, as it was already used for the demo. The switch to Tesla Model Y would be probably very similar.
The second potential model is the Ford Mustang Mach-E. According to the press release, WiTricity engineers are "actively upgrading" a Ford Mustang Mach-E, "with more vehicles in the pipeline."
While the final decision on which models to offer upgrades has yet to be made - "based on customer demand, technical feasibility, and automaker support" - we can be sure that WiTricity will target the high volume models, like Model 3/Model Y and Mach-E. A big question is the "automaker support," especially when it comes to Tesla.
More details about the WiTricity Halo the aftermarket wireless charging upgrade will be available at https://info.witricity.com/halo.
Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity said:
“Our research has shown us that consumers want wireless charging for their EVs. WiTricity has focused to date on enabling automakers with factory-installed EV wireless charging, and we're seeing the first of these vehicles launching in Asia. Now, we want to bring our WiTricity Halo™ Charging solution to customers who have already purchased their EV by offering a complete upgrade solution.”
“Our successful upgrade of the Tesla Model 3 is resonating with consumers as an easier, more convenient way to charge their EVs. With the WiTricity Halo™ solution you just park and walk away, knowing you will return to a fully charged car. Day to day, it’s as if your car had infinite range, which will help accelerate EV adoption and propel us to a greener future.”