Landscape: Wireless Charging
A short review of wireless charging, after seeing the recent news of Tesla’s acquisition of German wireless charging startup Wiferion.
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I was curious to see that Tesla acquired German-based wireless charging startup Wiferion for $76 million a few weeks ago.
Wiferion specializes in charging for industrial robots, automated machinery you might see in a warehouse, rather than electric vehicles. It’s unannounced whether Tesla’s strategy is for their manufacturing operations vs. their EVsystem.
Regardless, I was curious to see what else was out there in the wireless charging space.
Wireless charging, technically known as inductive charging, is a method of transmitting electrical energy without the need for physical connectors or cables. It operates on the principle of electromagnetic induction - a current passing through a primary coil generates a magnetic field, which in turn induces an electric current in a nearby secondary coil. The efficiency and range of this transfer depend on factors like the frequency of the magnetic field, coil design, and distance between the coils.
For electric vehicles (EVs), the application of wireless charging presents transformative possibilities. While current wired EV charging solutions, like the Tesla Supercharger, can deliver power up to 250 kW and charge vehicles within an hour, wireless solutions for EVs are still in development and typically offer lower power levels. However, a major advantage of wireless charging for EVs is the possibility of dynamic charging or wire-free charging, where vehicles could be charged while on the move, through coils embedded in roadways, or autonomously without any human interaction.
We recently wrote about EV charging infrastructure and how important it is to install infrastructure in a way that reduces street furniture (aka clutter) to free up space and promote a good ecosystem for EVs without compromising the walking environment for pedestrians.
📖 Relevant papers
A critical review on wireless charging for electric vehicles, Machura et al.
Players in the space
A survey of existing companies working on wireless charging.