Wireless Charging On Verge Of Becoming Norm?

OCT 19 2016 BY MARK KANE 41

Tesla Model S with Plugless charging system

Tesla Model S with Plugless charging system

A recent Automotive News article spreads the notion that wireless charging for EVs is necessary for broad adoption of not only the tech, but for autonomous vehicles.

Indeed, wireless charging is really good solution that just makes sense for autonomous cars, as they can obviously more easily feed themselves energy, while in other cases it’s simply more convenient.

Another positive for wireless charging is of course the security/vandalism aspect, with no cord/equipment to be lost.

The drawback of wireless charging system is a much higher price and a lower charging efficiency.  And as of today, there is also no commercial availability for fast charging EVs publicly without using a plug (50 kW+), so we consider wireless capability mostly for normal “level 2” applications.

However, the largest potential problem with AutoNews’ assertion that wireless is needed for broad EV adoption, is the fact that the timing for the tech’s maturity doesn’t seem likely before current forecasts in place already for wider public plug-in acceptance. So while wireless charging seems like a natural extension of plug-in vehicles, and will certainly help adoption, we don’t find it a “make it, or break it” feature.

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz S500e (or S550e in the US) plug-in hybrid will be first to provide OEM-supplied wireless functionality as an option when it arrives early next year.

As of today, Evatran offers its Plugless system for Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Volt and some Tesla models, with an eye for wider adoption in the future.

WiTricity show booth

WiTricity show booth

David Schatz, vice president of sales and business development at WiTricity said:

“Every carmaker, and I say that meaning every carmaker, has an active program at some stage of maturity to introduce vehicles with wireless charging. Other carmakers include Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Ford, just to name a few.”

Andrew Daga, CEO of Momentum Dynamics added:

“Automakers know the key to increased EV sales is to improve the charging or fueling experience. They want to get inductive charging into the market as fast as possible.”

“Home units will be priced on par with plug-in charging equipment. If you’re going to buy a home charger that’s inductive, you’re going to be paying less than $1,500 for an 11-kilowatt charger.”

Tony Posawatz, former vehicle line director for the Chevrolet Volt said:

“If you have autonomous vehicles you have to be looking at this. You can’t have a bunch of autonomous vehicles with guys waiting for cords.”

Beside the static wireless charging, there is a technical possibility to make dynamic wireless charging, but that would be a costly option, as roads would need to be equipped with embedded coils.

The big missing part for wireless charging commercialization is a standard.

source: Automotive News

Categories: Charging


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41 Comments on "Wireless Charging On Verge Of Becoming Norm?"

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It’s currently not capable of fast charging.
It’s currently much more expensive than wired charging.
It’s currently much less efficient than wired charging.

Without wireless fast charging it’d be cheaper to pay someone minimum wage to plug in and unplug cars than it would be to have them sitting unutilized.

… and of course, as Betteridge’s Law of Headlines states, the answer to the question posed by the headline is “No.”

Your efficiency argument is rubish!
Teslas use about 25% more energy to drive the same mile i drive with my Volt and an Imiev uses maybe 20% less than my Volt so, are we wasting energy? Should we all drive Imievs?
People drive under 40 miles a day. A charge for 40 miles cost about $1. wireless losses are about 12%, so about 10 to 15 cents per day.
About $50 more per year to get rid of the plug.
No need for fast wireless charging. those who travel far just have to plug but for the vast majority of us, wireless is just fine.
It’s convenience.

This is a terribly weak argument. Efficiency matters. You’re settling for lower efficiency in your Tesla because of the performance and comfort benefits.

Wasting energy charging just because you’re too lazy to plug in your car is ridiculous.

Does it have applications in tamper prone locations? Absolutely, but not for the average person charging at home.

EV drivers gave me those same arguments 3 years ago when i decided to get my Plugless system.
Lazyness has nothing to do with it. I live in Quebec where snow is a part of life and i’ve seen many people strugling with frozen charge ports, dropping handles and watch them explode in pieces on the ground. Replacement handles are not cheap. Cracked receptacles giving error codes and cant charge. Facebook Volt groups have a plethora of those. You don’t know about the convenience the Plugless gives you until you have lived with it for a while.
Wireless charging will become the norm, like it or not. Ask your wife if she enjoys the plug as much as you do… you know the answer.

But but but Elon told them efficiency is the most important thing in the world, and they are not going to deviate away from it.

Is wireless charging “on the verge of” becoming the norm? No.

Will it eventually become the norm, some years from now? Yes, I think that’s inevitable, for reasons given in several posts here.

The fact that Tesla currently opposes wireless charging won’t stop that. The Ford Motor Company once opposed painting their cars any color but black, too.

Efficiency doesn’t matter especially when u harvest renewable energy.

Try plugging in 365 times per year and unplugging 365 times per year, then tell me how much you love that after 2 or 3 years.


Wireless charging leads to a marginal efficiency loss which costs a marginal sum.

Fast charging is generally not needed at home and 7-11 kW wireless charging will be more than enough for almost everyone.
Few cars can take more than that anyway.

Soon all plugins will come with wireless charging, plugging in at home is like having a TV where you change channels on the TV instead of with a remote.

I agree, but I EVs won’t have wireless charging before iPhones do. So I am thinking the tech just isn’t there yet.

Like the article states, autonomous EVs will drive the biggest demand for wireless charing. So I am going to peg 2020 as the turning of the corner for wireless.

Iphones have always been very low tech on the hardware side. My phones been charged wireless for quite a while.

The technology is there and beyond already.

“…I am thinking the tech just isn’t there yet.”

Multiple companies have demonstrated wireless charging of EVs, and claim ~90% charging efficiency. Even if that’s a bit optimistic, I think there are realistic hopes for real-world ~85% charging efficiency, or slightly better. That is, ~85% efficiency for the wireless transfer of power, and presumably another 10%-15% loss for normal charging inefficiency.

Elon may decry the waste, the loss of efficiency, but people in general have demonstrated a willingness to pay for convenience. Wireless charging is more convenient, as well has having other advantages noted in comments here.

I don’t think there is any rational scenario where wireless charging tech won’t eventually become the standard, and I doubt it will be many years before that happens. I will be surprise if, 5 years from now, there are still production PEVs (Plug-in EVs) made without wireless charging offered as an option at least, if not standard equipment.

When wireless charging is the norm, will we still call them “plug-in EVs”? 🙂

This argument is funny because you could make the same argument for why ICE cars are superior to electrics — you know, electrics cost more, don’t go as far, and take far longer to fuel.

The point is that a technology doesn’t have to be better on all measures, just on some or even one. In the case of wireless charging, wires are a pain, and losing the wires is a great convenience. It’s just simpler and easier. It can be desirable and successful while also being less efficient and costing more. Nothing contradictory about that.

After 15,000 plus installations of electric vehicle charging stations as an engineering firm ,I don’t get the “wireless” in wireless charging no matter what you do you still have to install a 40 amp breaker back to a panel somewhere which and then most cases add Dble the cost, double for trenching to hide the wire(s) in “wireless”charging . Dont Get me wrong I think it’s a novel and great idea however only for new design build projects where the wires can be hidden under the infrastructure going in

There is a wireless charging standard being developed. It’s called SAE J2954 and guidelines for it were approved this year. http://newatlas.com/sae-wireless-charging-phev-j2954/43465/

I certainly hope the headline’s answer is yes. My number one complaint about my Leaf is that I am plugging it in many times a day. Usually why caring other item I my hands. The best plugin experience is definitely not doing it at all. Nearly all of my charging is done at home at low speed – bring it on!

If batteries become cheap enough for a self-sustaining PEV market, you won’t need to plug in frequently during the day.

And with wireless not at all.

Yet again it could as well be done with conductive mini pantographs under the car and simple contacts on a small bump on the floor. It is not because nobody did it that it can’t be done, at contrary, when something has never been done it is likely a very good idea no one thought possible until then.

I’ve been a huge fan of the mini-pantograph idea for years. It’d only cost us a few months worth of oil imports to wire up our major highways. Every president since Nixon promised oil freedom, this would actually do it.

200 milers like Bolt would be MORE capable than gascars. Coast-to-coast without stopping, ha! Even 100 milers would work for many people.

Two words: DIRT and WATER.

A conductive pantograph solution might work on the top of a bus, where A) you are way up off the ground (protected from abuse) and B) you can spend engineer a large, robust mechanism that deals with fouled contacts. But that’s not going to be the case for a consumer car, which will have weight and cost pressures.

Most things that people have not done are because they are pretty stupid. Sometimes there are brilliant ideas just lying around without anyone using them but those are rare.

For home use wireless is the way to go.

For very fast charging 100+ kW some kind of automated conductive solution will be used in the future. But until there are cars that are autonomous enough to drop you off and drive and charge itself it’s fairly useless.

Priusmaniac said:

“Yet again it could as well be done with conductive mini pantographs under the car and simple contacts on a small bump on the floor.”

How would they deal with dirt, dust, mud, etc. getting into the contacts, both on the underside of the car and that “bump” in the floor?

I don’t think that’s a viable solution. There is already a problem with dirty contacts on Supercharger charging cables, and those aren’t even placed where they’re likely to get dirt, dust, and mud on them.

Very few people will look forward to periodically crawling under their car to clean charging contacts and/or the cover over those contacts.

For business fleet pool vehicles, like those at government, military and utilities the inclusion of wireless will ensure availability and convenience for users. For our fleet some users are good at plugging in, others may be rushed and forget (just as they did for gas fillups). Wireless will ensure that those vehicles are always ready for the next user.
This will also be a win for taxi ranks and airport shuttle services.

Glad that -everyone- is looking at this, as ‘wireless’ is appealing, but a paradigm-shift effortless (motorized-contacts,less ‘noisy’,better efficiency, affordable) recharging will absolutely boost the EVrolution.

MTNRanger’s pointer to the SAE standard is a hella-good step in the right direction, if all will join/accommodate.

The big players like Evatran, Witricity, Qualcomm, etc are involved with SAE.

“A recent Automotive News article spreads the notion that wireless charging for EVs is necessary for broad adoption of not only the tech, but for autonomous vehicles.”

I’ll agree with the point that it makes sense for autonomous vehicles.

But I would argue that the plugless charger is no more imperative for regular EV adoption as was the pumpless osmotic gasoline fuel tanks were with the first iCE automobiles.

Why do we need wireless charging? I think it will take more effort to park well enough to get wireless charging to even *work* – than it does to just plug in.

You have to pay more to set it up, and you have to pay more per mile for your electricity, because you *will* use more electricity.

I agree. I also have a three car garage, and don’t always park in the same spot. Sometimes I even park in the driveway (gasp!). So where am I supposed to set up my wireless charger? Sounds like a fine idea for public parking, but I’ll pass for at home.

Having a plug receptacle on the car will likely remain a standard, even after most cars charge wirelessly. That would enable charging where there isn’t a wireless charger installed, which will sometimes be needed on a temporary or emergency basis.

Wireless charging doesn’t have to be fast but it does have to be ubiquitous. Preferably every marked street parking space should have a wireless charger in it and every car should be able to receive it, irrespective of brand. Fast charging is really only interesting for inter-city travel, having your car topped up automatically every time you stop somewhere would be great!

Tony Posawatz said:

“If you have autonomous vehicles you have to be looking at this. You can’t have a bunch of autonomous vehicles with guys waiting for cords.”

Even garage charging is WAY better with wireless than wired. One can easily get their daily commute miles overnight.

Having ladies or old people plug in is a burden. The cable on my L2 (40amp) is neither small nor light.

While I agree that convenience is going to drive the market toward wireless charging, it certainly won’t be because the proverbial little old lady can’t handle plugging the charging cord. Very few people need help with filling up their gasmobile, and dealing with the charging cable is usually no more difficult.

Now, that said, some problems have been reported with forcing the plug in when there are icy conditions. Not having to deal with that problem is another advantage for wireless charging.

Let me have a go at this. Things affecting the charging experience are at minimum:

o Usage: Miles/kilometers per day (See Dwayne Scott’s comment).
o Climatic: (See Driverguy01’s comment).
o Battery Size.
o The driver/owner’s physical issues.

Depending on how the user experience fits the above, wireless can range from near-essential to an expensive overindulgence.
Faced with this, IMHO rigid arguments centered on cost, efficiency etc. miss the point and are more or less irrelevant.

Example – My own case: Moderate climate with rain. Rarely some snow/ice.
Me: Leaf. Modest round town driving ≈4days per charge. Wireless? – don’t make me laugh!
Wife: Small battery PHEV. More driving ≈1-2 charges/day. Wireless? – Yes please!

In other words, people’s experience and needs can be startlingly different without being considered extreme or rare. So no amount of single-issue argumentation should sway anybody on this topic.

Having a magnetic field generated in a residential setting to transmit 11KW seems to be a bit risky without medical research.

Unless you’re one of the tinfoil hat crowd who thinks living near power lines causes cancer, that shouldn’t be an issue.

That’s low frequency magnetic field. It doesn’t affect health. U have such magnetic fields all around u. U just don’t notice anything. Or don’t u have electricity at home?

I feel confident in predicting that wireless charging will become the norm for EVs, despite the loss of energy efficiency.

Here’s why:

1. The owner doesn’t have to remember, or bother with, plugging the car in at night, or unplugging it in the morning. The car and the charger will be set to automatically charge the car whenever it’s parked and it needs a charge.

2. For outdoor charging installations, in parking lots and curbside parking spots, burying the charger in/under the pavement will prevent vandalism of the charging cable, as well as making things very difficult for would-be copper thieves.

I suppose slow wireless inductive charging makes sense at home and maybe the office (wouldn’t installing a post with an outlet be cheaper?) but for destination charging it’s not fast enough…More work should be put into an automated wired solution…Until then, as someone pointed out, paying someone minimum wage to plug and unplug (and even drive) would be far cheaper…

Inductive charging is actually the cheapest way to do it.
The charger needs a big coil (primary winding) pluged into the socket. And some electronics to communicate with the car.
The car has a similar coil (secondary winding) and the appropriate electronics.

Now just guess how much would such a coil cost in large series production?
Copper wire costs somewhere at 8$/kg. Few kg would be more than enough (just look at that wireless charging pad). There are many ways to make it cheaper, like using aluminium and other stuff.

For slow charging is the best option. It think every EV should have inductive (wireless) slow charging and DC fast charging as well.