WiTricity Now Testing Wireless Charging With GM, 11 kW Chevy Volt Charging Anyone?

DEC 21 2016 BY MARK KANE 47

WiTricity has begun joint tests of its wireless charging technology with General Motors.

Two power levels of the WiTricity’s Drive 11 park and charge system are under investigation – a 7.7 kW  unit, and also a 11 kW system (both designed with an intention to comply with future standards proposed by SAE International’s J2954 Committee as we understand them today).

WiTricity Wireless Charging

WiTricity Wireless Charging

Both power levels could be utilized in plug-in hybrids in the future (like the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac CT6 plug-in) and all-electric cars (Chevrolet Bolt EV).

Given the maximum input charge level for the Chevy Volt is currently 3.6 kW (level 2, no DCFC abilities), the ability to accept either a 7.7 or 11 kW wireless charge would be a huge improvement.

It’s too early to said that GM will use WiTricity wireless charging for sure, but if Chevrolet intends to offer autonomous driving technology, the adoption of wireless charging is a major option, that many consider to be required in the package.

Pamela Fletcher, GM Executive Chief Engineer – Electrified Vehicles said of the co-operation:

WiTricity show booth

WiTricity show booth soon to feature GM products?

“Wireless charging is a technology that our customers have told us they are interested in. By testing the WiTricity prototype system, we can ensure that wireless charging systems will comply with proposed industry standards, which benefits the entire industry and consumers.”

Also adding some input was  Alex Gruzen, CEO, WiTricity said:

“The electric vehicle has been recognized as central to the future of mobility, and GM has been a leader, making EVs accessible to the broader market. The convenience of wireless charging will help accelerate adoption even further. Our team is proud to work with GM on this project. Wireless charging for EVs, based on industry standards, is inevitable as we move toward a future of self-driving and autonomous vehicles, and this project brings us one step closer to realizing our vision of a world powered wirelessly.”

Further details:

“GM is committed to offering customers a variety of electrification solutions, including a great charging experience. To improve understanding of real world performance and the challenges integrating this technology into vehicles, GM is testing WiTricity’s prototype wireless charging system, which allows a driver to simply pull into his or her garage and automatically receive power from a source below the vehicle. The system design works across all plug-in electric vehicle platforms and can be deployed as a “floor pad” in a consumer’s garage, as well as installed under pavement to provide wireless charging in public and commercial parking lots.”

“WiTricity is committed to catalyzing EV adoption through flexible park and charge experiences. The company is working with major automakers and Tier 1 suppliers to bring the next generation of wireless EV charging to a commercial reality. Licensing agreements have been announced with Toyota, Delphi, TDK, IHI and BRUSA. WiTricity is also collaborating directly with leading carmakers to drive global standards for wireless charging systems. Standards initiatives the company is involved in include the SAE International, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), STILLE and China Automotive Technology & Research Center (CATARC).”

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47 Comments on "WiTricity Now Testing Wireless Charging With GM, 11 kW Chevy Volt Charging Anyone?"

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Wow, that could charge my Gen-2 Volt in like an hour and a half.

Some may find it useful, but I find my 120V 8A (1kW, or 800W after losses) perfectly adequate. After all, I plug in when I’m sleeping, and it matters little if it’s full at 11 PM or 6 AM. Not having another “gadget” is also a bonus.

I’ve got a Volt with 40ish miles of range.
I have a 32 miles round trip commute.

Faster charging would greatly reduce the number of times I have to burn gas due to running errands after work.

I was very surprised when GM didn’t upgrade the charger in the Volt in the second generation…or at least made it an option.

Sure they did, it was upgraded from 3.3 to 3.6 ;-). Wooooooo!

I agree, John. I am keeping my 2013 Volt, but if the Gen II had 6.6 kW charging plus the additional AER it would be more enticing.

Realistically, though, given the 53 miles of AER, the 6.6 kW charge rate is LESS important on the Gen II than it would have been on the Gen I.
I frequently stop to charge over my lunch break and then run out of charge halfway through the afternoon. A 6.6 kW charge rate would really reduce the amount of miles I use the genset. If it had been a $300 option it would probably pay for itself in 3 or 4 years, given the average price of gasoline over the past 4 years. If it had been a $500 option I might not have chosen to upgrade, but it would have been cool to have the choice. I would have come close to paying $500 just to remove some of the irritation factor that comes from using a pay charger that sets the fee by the minute. Not logical, but that is just the way I look at things.

And I totally get that. I could get by with 120V at 8 amps on most days as well. But there are times that even Level-2 is not fast enough. This is especially true when I’m using a public charger.

Money is the problem. System will most likely cost more than burning gas for those rare trips for the life of the car (like billion years). Then there’s extra gadget you keep around that might become obsolete in few years. When you have enormous gas tank (relative to i3Rex), it doesn’t make much sense to pay all that for rare event.

It might make more sense for BEV without DCFC such as Fiat 500e, though the cost is probably way too high even for them. It might be better to pay quickchargepower to speed up JDemo product development for their non-DCFC car.

I actually ran the #’s and buying a L2 was more cost effective than using the L1 charger that came with the car. It clearly depends on the rate you pay for electricity but on a full charge the L2 uses something like 12kWh but the L1 uses 14kWh at 12 amps. Even more at the 8 amp option due to the 300 watts “lost”.

I suspect for a lot of Californians the same is true over a 3 year period.

Say 20 cents per kWh and you’re losing 2 per day. That’s 40 cents * 250 days on average or $100. With the 30% off tax credit you can buy a L2 and cover the costs. If you have to install a new outlet then it adds to the cost clearly but in the long run could be worth it.

All depends on the #’s though.

If you’re losing 2 kWh and assuming that’s 10% loss, that’s like 20 kWh per day. That’s like driving almost 100 miles every day, unlikely scenario.

People generally lease their EV, and looking at some Leaf that’s off lease, they’re about 7K miles a year. At that miles, L2 is still too expensive.

But the original argument was about wireless, which would be even less efficient than L1.

The 2kWh loss is due to the cooling the Volt does. 300w per hour times an extra 7 hours or so is the 2kWh

If you’re charging with lower power, wouldn’t the cooling be less? I suppose in hot weather, it would be just the same, but around 80F and below, I would think the extra heat from 1kW isn’t enough to kick off cooling.

Indeed, I don’t hear anything when using L1, but I hear pumps running with L2 and feel hot air blowing using DCFC.

I upgraded my Tesla S from 11 kW to 22 kW, and to me it is well worth the money for the app. once per month I need it.

I agree with you I’d like to have the option to charge quickly especially living in northern Illinois and the temperature we had last week -12°F. My average mileage per charge during the summer 59 miles (highest 70 miles), 45 miles fall and now 36 miles. It takes 12+ hours or more for a zero to full charge and getting home after 9pm being charged by 6am doesn’t work from the 120V charger. WiTricity seems to have a head start by already working with GM.

If you don’t heat the cabin your winter range should be pretty close to your summer range.

Pro tip: when it is cold (below zero), just use hold mode, as the ICE is almost as efficient as battery (and more environmentally sound if you get your electricity from oil or coal generation) when you are heating the cabin (because the normal thermal waste heat from the ice is not waste when it is being used to heat the cabin).

Even ignoring losses due to cabin heating, the batteries will go fewer miles in very cold weather. I know, I’ve done it with no heat to test it out.

Even in temperate SoCal I lose between 10 and 20% of range in the winter with the heater off.

Still most of the energy from the ICE is wasted. I don’t know specifically about the Volt, but this applies for most ICE cars. Most of the energy is wasted as heat through the exhaust, some energy is used through the driveshaft, some is wasted as heat from the surface (radiation and convection) and some is absorbed by the cooling liquid (and can be directed to the cabin. New gasoline engines are usually still inefficient enough that there are enough waste heat to heat the cabin in freezing temperatures, but diesels are slightly more efficient and it is common to install additional heaters that burn diesel to heat the cooling liquid as otherwise the engine will not be able to maintain the temperature of itself and the cabin. People also temporarily install a cardboard og plywood plate between the air intake and the radiator restricing the airflow and redusing the cooling effect of the engine. Just remember to remove it in spring or the engine will overheat. The engine has much higher tear and wear, fuel consumption and emissions when it is cold, so in cold areas it is not uncommon to install electric heaters in the engine block to… Read more »

”WiTricity CEO Alex Gruzen’s team has reportedly perfected the technology that makes wireless power as efficient as plugging in”
Yeah, right!
Unless they can change the law of physics, i don’t think it will ever happen.
If they can get it down to a 5% loss from the 10% today, it will be a huge improvement already.

And you can’t put the receiver at the displayed location in a Volt. That would lower the clearance of the bottom of the car by at least 2 inches, not a good thing in snowy conditions.
My Plugless receiver on my Volt is installed at the back of the car where it has the most clearance.

A standard for this would be good, the car makers could offer the under car unit as an option. Then you could have the standard at public chargers, the car reparks after charging then the next one come up.

They tried that with the wired connection. Now we have CHAdeMO and CCS came later.

I expect this to never get standardized.

Troll knows best, it will NEVER be.


“The prototype testing focuses on wireless charging systems at 7.7 and 11 kW charge rates, capable of charging both battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and extended range electric vehicles (EREVs), and is intended to comply with standards proposed by SAE International’s J2954 Committee.”


Most likely $3K-$5K.
No thanks.

It’s funny how PHEV owners always want to charge yet they bought the car with an ICE and they’re the ones that that occupy charging stations for hours (6hrs-9hrs) on end even though they are filled in 2hrs.

I also find it funny how the PHEV owners are always occupying the charging stations.

However – you said they are filled in 2 hours – which is untrue. A Volt takes about 4 hours for a full charge to get 40 miles of driving. My 30 KWh Leaf coincidentally also takes about 4 hours when charging on a charger capable of delivering 6.6 KW and gets me 107 miles.

A Fusion or CMax Energi take about 3 hours to get 20 miles.

A first gen Plug in Prius takes 2.5 hours to get 10 miles.

Charging stations could be much more available if all cars had on board 6 KW or faster charging – all these Plug In Hybrids do is clog up the public charging stations while charging at a rate barely faster than a 120 volt household outlet can deliver. Very frustrating! At least the Pacific Hybrid is good enough to put in a faster charging giving the minivan 30 some miles in 2 hours.

“you said they are filled in 2 hours – which is untrue”

Meant 3…….dang my fat fingers.

True on a 6.6KW onboard charger would ~Theoretically~ make stations more available……..as long as they move when fully charged. That doesn’t happen most of the times. They just use it for parking.

All charge stations should follow Teslas lead and impose steeper rates for charge campers. Say 10 minute grace period for them to move then $1 per minute after, after 30 minutes it’s $2 per minute and exponentiate from there.
The system should also track customers and the gross offenders, when they try and charge again, take out the remaining charge from their car……lol

Funny but I usually see the PHEVs being the most considerate. It’s the BEVs that are aholes leaving their cars plugged in well after they’re done charging. Only exception are the Fusion Energi people.

I do completely agree with the 6kW charging though. Would be nice to fully charge in 2 hours.

My Gen 1 Volt, like the 10’s of thousands of others, takes a solid 4 hours to charge from empty and will always be that way until it goes to the junk yard – nothing anyone says will change that; it’s just crying over spilled milk at this point. Do I wish it had a 6kW charger? Sure, but that will never change the facts. Even if this does become an option (in a year or two), I can’t see dropping several grand to upgrade a 7 to 8 year old car that will have over 80k miles on it at that point (assuming I have a garage by then). Like many other Volt drivers, I picked that car specifically because I wanted to drive electric but cannot charge at home, so I needed something that would still operate if my work charger was out of service, etc. leaving the battery empty. So it should be no surprise to anyone that these cars use public charging more – many are bought by people for which public charging is the only way to charge it. From my perspective (tongue firmly planted in cheek here), I’m sick of EV drivers who could… Read more »

As a former Volt driver, I agree. I used to use public charging almost everyday to increase my electric range to reach my (at then) 50-60 mile commute. However, when I get my Model 3, I doubt I will ever use local public L2 charging anymore. Only on regional/interstate trips would I use SC or CHAdeMO.

I have a Leaf, and I don’t think PHEVs should be banned from public chargers. They are public for a reason, first come first served. Just move your car when done charging.

However, if you don’t have a plug at home (you live in an apartment I guess) then I would say buying a plug in car may not have been the best choice for you. Perhaps a traditional Prius would be best until your situation changes. Just my $0.02.

“I’m sick of EV drivers who could very well have charged at home”

“forcing me to use gas when I could have otherwise avoided it”

and you could very well burn gas, that ~IS~ the reason you bought the car right??? Now you’re complaining about having to use it??? Maybe you bought the wrong car?

There are plenty of pay as you go charge stations, why complain you can’t mooch on the free ones?

IMHO, one shouldn’t always rely on the free stations, they are almost always taken.

I don’t believe this will hold true for Bolt owners. The range is more than adequate for a few days of not charging.

This doesnt make any sense. Even with a wireless charging system, the energy still needs to be converted by the OBCM (on board charge module) which is limited to 3.6 kW. This is unless they are completly by-passing the Volt’s OBCM and use their own charge module, but this would be very complicated dealing with all the CAN communications etc. Anyway, I would love a volt with 7 kw charging but I prefer to plug in!

Well, they’re working WITH GM on the product, so GM is happily supplying the right language for the unit to speak.
Plugless was working in the dark, AFAIK, so they had to use the OBCM.

This unit, with the provided ‘master codes’ could be providing DC direct to the battery as it’s own OBCM unit.
Keep in mind much of the role of the OBCM is to convert AC To DC, which is what the receiver coil system is doing anyway. After that it’s just voltage regulation and shut-off points to be a fully functional charger.

lewl said:

“Keep in mind much of the role of the OBCM [on board charge module] is to convert AC To DC, which is what the receiver coil system is doing anyway.”

Hmmm. Wikipedia’s “resonant inductive coupling” article says:

To remove energy from the secondary [pickup] coil, different methods can be used, the AC can be used directly or rectified and a regulator circuit can be used to generate DC voltage. (source below)

I’m no electrical engineer, but that rectification and generation of DC power seems to indicate a second step in conversion of power, and therefore (by the Second Law of Thermodynamics) a loss of efficiency, which would not be found in ordinary wired (with a plug) charging hookup.

Of course, if any of my gentle readers are electrical engineers with first-hand experience with the sort of wireless charging we’re talking about here — which uses high frequency resonant magnetic inductive coupling — can speak to this point, I’d appreciate some input.


You need rectification whether L2 or wireless, because that’s to convert AC to DC.

As for efficiency, losses in wired system is just resistive losses in the wires. For wireless, you have resistive losses in the coils as well as radiation losses and coupling losses (heating stuff in path such as air, car’s body). That’s why wireless is less efficient.

If you bump up the frequency and for long distance, wireless can be more efficient. Losses in coax cable can be more than wireless for giga hertz and many meters. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

I wonder if this is the real reason Plugless “pulled the plug” on the Gen 2 Volt wireless charging unit.

The brake calipers of that Volt should be the green just like that towel underneath it.

Actually I had made a deposit with the wireless cage company Plugless and they returned my deposit because they wanted to step up their tech to the higher 7.2kW wattage instead of theie current 3.6kW

Sorry about the auto type, a wireless company called Plugless. The unit was $1430 included installation in your garage not on the vehicle.

“WiTricity CEO Alex Gruzen’s team has reportedly perfected the technology that makes wireless power as efficient as plugging in…”

So WiTricity has figured out a way around the Second Law of Thermodynamics, something which has eluded scientists and engineers for centuries. No doubt they’ll soon start selling a perpetual motion generator.


There oughta be a law.

Rather like talking to a BOX OF ROCKS,

but Thermodynamics refers to the MOVEMENT OF HEAT.

The efficiency of the wireless charger compared to the wired charger COULD be more efficient if the wireless is quite efficient and the wired version not so much.

It is not REMOTELY related to the MOVEMENT of HEAT.

You ‘name drop’ to make yourself seem tech savy, when all it does is show you to be a flake.

Sure… “Wireless charging is a technology that our customers have told us they are interested in”
There’s a lot we’ve been telling you we’re interested in, how about an EV with power seats, a sunroof, a Bolt with ACC or a garage door opener?

Living in Ontario, Canada I can tell you faster charger is absolutely needed especially during the winter months where there is no avoiding using the heater and the battery takes a big range hit.

Even the Ford Fusion Energy has 6.6kw. This should be an option to purchase and I would for sure buy it.

Until you experience the faster charge rates I believe most out there do not realize what they are missing.

GM – please give us faster chargingv or our Volts!

Agreed, and I’m sure that with either the 15 ampere (GEN 1) or 15 3/4 ampere (GEN 2) current limitation of the GM chargers, that when you are at a public charging docking station waiting for your spouse to get done shopping or whatever, and you turn on the 6-7 kw heater on high to warm up, the fact that these docking stations only have around 200 volts on them means you are only getting at best 3 to 3.2 kw out of the docking station, and you are discharging at a large rate even though you are still plugged in. If they would have a 6-7.2 kw charger with a 30-32 ampere limitation (e.g. BOLT) then at least you could warm up the car without discharging the battery greatly.

11 kw seems like a good choice for GM products – depending on its cost of course.

These cars have relatively large air conditioning/ refrigeration systems, and could adequately cope with the added battery and optionally, the water cooled ‘receiver’ heat if this wireless unit must tap into the electronics cooling loop.

It will be interesting to see if the commercially released product:

1). Works on North American voltage ranges (190-250, or even 277 nominal as the SC’s and NEW HPWC’s do), on a single-phase supply.

2). How much output you can get from a standard 240 volt range/RV outlet (40 amps draw if for a very large battery where the 3 hour usage forces consideration of this as a CONTINUOUS LOAD, or if for a smaller battery, they could ramp the thing right up to 50 amps if under 3 hours since the load then would not have to be considered ‘continuous’).