Most people whose phones can charge wirelessly wonder how they got along without it. We cannot overstate the value of not needing to worry as much about running out of power or finding a place to plug in.
Now think of having that same convenience for your EV. It’s not a dream. Wireless EV charging is already here, at least in some parts of Europe and Asia, and promises to be in the USA soon.
The global wireless electric vehicle charging systems market is projected to exceed $825 million by 2027.
Let’s review how wireless EV charging works, its features and benefits, and where the U.S. is at with adopting this technology. Then we’ll review major EV wireless charging industry players as of the end of 2022.
How Wireless EV Charging Works
(Image Source: PluglessPower.com)
Like your phone, wireless EV charging uses resonant electromagnetic induction to transmit electrical current, a process that is also known as inductive charging. Your phone has a magnetic coil inside that receives electricity from the magnetic coil inside the charging pad.
Wireless charging for EVs works the same way, with a magnetic coil in the charger that sends current to a magnetic coil on the car’s underside. When the two pads align, charging begins.
Wireless charging for EVs is considered as efficient and fast as charging with a plug. For example, most EV plugs have 80-95 percent efficiency ratings. According to WiTricity, a leading provider, their wireless EV chargers achieve 90-93 percent efficiency.
Wireless charging for EVs can also deliver up to 20kW of charging power, essentially a Level 2 charging speed, and there’s no technological limitation preventing higher speeds. However, supercharger-level speeds are not expected in the marketplace anytime soon.
The technology isn’t new; Qualcomm, for example, debuted the Halo system in 2012. But interest has increased in recent years with the growth in EV sales.
The U.S. Market
Although wireless EV has a foothold in the U.S. market, it’s not yet on par with Europe and Asia. American businesses and entrepreneurs are waiting for a reasonable volume of EVs equipped for wireless charging to be sold here.
Currently, only one EV sold in America has wireless charging as a factory option – the BMW 530e hybrid sedan. Wireless charging provider WiTricity, which received a $25 million investment from Siemens in 2022, is developing licensing agreements that have reportedly drawn the interest of General Motors.
There’s no lack of interest in wireless charging among American EV owners. When WiTricity questioned 1,000 current and prospective EV owners in the U.S., they found that 81% are very to extremely interested in EVs equipped for wireless charging.
(Image Source: SFMagazine.com and WiTricity)
Wireless EV Charging Options
Wireless EV charging comes in two types: static EV charging, which is the most similar to what EV owners do now, and dynamic EV charging, which takes place on the open road.
Static EV Charging (Home or Office Charging Station)
Static EV charging simply means the EV is not moving while charging. Rather than plugging in, the wireless-equipped EV is parked over the installed wireless charging coil in the designated space.
Dynamic EV Charging (Roads and Highways)
Eventually, induction charging is expected to be built into the roadways so that owners can charge their EVs continuously as they go. It will work similarly to regular wireless charging and is expected to operate smoothly at speeds up to 65 mph, allowing EV owners to drive long distances without having to stop for a charge or risk running out of power.
Not surprisingly, that will be a costly undertaking. The automaker Stellantis is already working on a solution to build wireless charging for EVs into certain roadways. In September 2021, the state of Michigan announced a partnership with Electreon to create the first wireless EV charging road in the U.S., a one-mile stretch in Detroit that will be available to the public when completed.
(Image Source: Pixabay.com)
Wireless EV Charging Benefits
Although charging cables have advantages, they also have limitations. Wireless EV charging offers several benefits, particularly for commercial vehicles.
By definition, the number one benefit of wireless EV charging is that there are no wires. EV owners do not need to carry heavy charging cables or plug their cars in at every charging station, alleviating range anxiety.
Lower Accident Risk
EV charging cables can become damaged over time, particularly in extreme heat and cold areas, which can be hazardous to the vehicle and its owner. No wires mean less risk, and replacing cables is expensive, too.
Wireless charging is simply more convenient, even when only available as static charging – and imagine the convenience if and when dynamic charging becomes a reality.
Although wireless charging is no faster than regular EV charging, you save a little time by not having to get out of the vehicle to plug in, etc. And again, once dynamic charging becomes a reality, the amount of time saved on charging could be substantial.
Wireless EV Charging Infrastructure Costs
Plugless Power is currently the leading supplier of wireless charging solutions. They offer a third-generation wireless charger for about $3,500, plus installation. This will change as the market expands, but there are no projections on how much.
Major Players in the EV Wireless Charging Industry
Continental AG offers safe, efficient, intelligent solutions for electric machines and vehicles worldwide. For the EV wireless charging systems market, the company provides the AllCharge charging system and automated wireless charging solution. Continental AG focuses on innovation such as automated driving, connectivity, technology for future mobility, electric mobility (including EV wireless charging), safety technologies, infotainment systems, and agriculture.
The company has several subsidiaries and a strong distribution network, giving it a significant presence across North America, Europe, and Asia.
With ten sales offices and eight production facilities worldwide, Daihen is an electronics manufacturing company based in Japan. They produce transformers, solar inverters, power distribution equipment, welding machines, cutting machines, industrial robots, and wireless power transmission systems, among other products and systems.
Daihen operates through four reportable segments – Semiconductor & FPD Related, Welding & Mechatronics, Power Products, and Others – and provides wireless power transfer systems through its Welding & Mechatronics business segment.
Delaxchaux Group, headquartered in France, was established in 1902 and boasts worldwide clientele, including 50 percent of the world’s railways, two-thirds of the world’s seaports, and half of the planes now flying. Between subsidiaries and a strong distribution network, the company has a presence across Europe, MEA, the Americas, and APAC.
Delachaux offers brands such as Frauscher (Austria) in rail signaling, Pandrol (France) in rail infrastructure, DCX Chrome (France) in chromium metal, and Conductix Wampfler (Germany) in energy and data management systems. They operate in the wireless EV charging market through Conductix Wampfler.
Electreon, Inc. is a publicly-traded company in Israel that develops and implements wireless Electric Road Systems (ERS). They have developed intelligent road technology using a dynamic wireless electric system for transportation to reduce the need for heavy batteries.
Electreon focuses on smart road technology, wireless energy, public transit, electric vehicles, E-mobility, and autonomous vehicles. They are presently conducting pilot projects on dynamic wireless charging in Israel, Italy, and Germany, among other locations.
ELIX Wireless is a privately held Canadian company founded in 2013 to develop wireless power transfer technologies. They use magneto dynamic coupling to deliver safe and sufficient power for applications such as autonomous vehicles, warehouse and material handling robots, and automated guided vehicles (AGV).
ELIX Wireless provides solutions to buses and trucks, passenger cars, mining equipment, anti-idling, material handling, and industrial, medical, and subsea applications.
HEVO develops EV wireless charging solutions with three components: App & Cloud Sync, Power Station, and Wireless Receiver. The HEVO app shows nearby charging stations, monitors and evaluates charging statistics and bill payment status, and indicates charging stations’ availability.
Headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, HEVO also maintains Silicon Valley, California, and Amsterdam, Netherlands offices.
InductEV (formerly Momentum Wireless Power)
Founded in 2009 in Pennsylvania as Momentum Wireless Power, InductEV develops high-power wireless charging solutions for electric vehicles. Their magnetic induction systems allow all-weather charging for EV batteries with fully automatic operations.
Their solution is designed to charge city buses, commercial vehicles, auto fleets, and industrial vehicles.
Mojo Mobility of California was established in 2005 to develop wireless power transfer technology. They provide solutions for applications such as mobile charging, wearable technology, automotive infrastructure, electric vehicle charging, consumer, and other applications.
The company works with different technologies, including position-free wireless charging technology, multi-device integration, wireless vs. cord charging, and safe charging technology.
Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification, or WAVE, Inc., develops and manufactures wireless charging systems for electric buses with a capacity of up to 250kW.
WAVE’s Salt Lake City depot can charge multiple vehicles automatically without manual valet work and moving plug-in chargers. The company specializes in wireless power transfer, inductive power, and electric cars. They were acquired in 2021 by Ideanomics, Inc.
(Image Source: Wave.com)
(Image Source: WiTricity.com)
Founded in 2007 in Massachusetts as an MIT spinoff, WiTricity specializes in wireless electricity, power transfer, charging, magnetic resonance, and electric cars and provides automotive solutions, engineering services, licensing, and support.
In addition to the U.S., the company has a presence in Europe, China, Japan, and South Korea through a network of subsidiaries and distributors.
Interested in learning more about the future of wireless charging and other EV infrastructure trends? Join us at the upcoming EV Charging Summit & Expo!