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Cars wireless-prius

Published on July 27th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro

26

Next Toyota Prius Plug-in Will Be Able To Charge Wirelessly

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July 27th, 2014 by  

Originally published on Gas2

wireless-prius

Toyota had previously announced that it was testing Massachusetts-based WiTriCity’s wireless charging system on the Prius Plug-In, and those tests apparently went well. Plug-In Cars reports that the WiTriCity wireless charging system will be offered as an option on the next Toyota Prius Plug-In, due out in the fall of 2016.

The system is based off of technology developed down the street at MIT by Marin Soljačić, and what seems to have courted Toyota is the concept of “positional freedom.” Basically, the car and charging pad don’t need to be precisely aligned to deliver a charge, as they are in many other systems. This means drivers are free from annoying repositioning of the car in order to ensure it gets juiced up. RIght now charging is limited to just 3.3 kw, but should be up to 6.6 kw by next year, before it goes on sale in the new Prius Plug-In. Wireless charging is a huge boon for EV and plug-in hybrid owners, as it totally eliminates the plugging-in part.

It makes sense that Toyota would pursue wireless charging with the next Prius Plug-In, as reports are painting a picture of a more high-tech hybrid than the current car. Wireless charging is likely to be just one piece of the puzzle, as Toyota is finding it more and more difficult to improve fuel economy due to diminishing returns on engine and aerodynamic efficiency. As far as my wishlist for the Prius Plug-In goes, more operational range would be nice, and would probably boost sales as the competition is eating away at the hybrid’s annual sales lead.

Make no mistake, the Prius is still top dog, and by making if techier, Toyota is only broadening its appeal. 2016 is supposedly the year wireless charging goes mainstream, and it could make the growing number of EV charging stations obsolete in short order. Or it could be a nifty feature that works better in theory than in practice.

Will your next EV have wireless charging capabilities?

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • http://www.peterforint.com/ @peterforint

    I’d rather see the R&D investments go into extending driving range, improving safety, etc.

  • DrazenDodig

    Wireless charging makes a lot of sense when you are outside your home… at home it does not matter, but when going for a quick stop, it will ensure that people are actually charging their PHEVs.

  • Senlac

    Regardless of the merits of wireless charging, it’s coming. Get used to it. It will get better and I’m sure someone will still have the option to plug their EV in, for speed alone.

  • http://barnardonwind.wordpress.com/ Mike Barnard

    To add to the problem, inductive systems will all be one way, so inductively charged EVs won’t be of value as part of the proposed grid storage value of electrified transport. I did some calculations on this over on Quora.

    http://qr.ae/H0G07

    And yes, two way systems are possible but thinking that the extra cost and weight will be justified on the car is not realistic.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I don’t think V -> grid has a future. Utilities are likely to rent expensive EV batteries and pay their owners a profit when they can purchase cheaper storage wholesale.

      V -> home, possibly. If/when we get a lot of solar on the grid and EVs can be charged cheaply during the day, driven home, and plugged into the house for local use. But the people who don’t want to deal with plugging and unplugging will simply forego that savings.

  • http://barnardonwind.wordpress.com/ Mike Barnard

    No, because any wireless charging is so massively inefficient. Let’s waste a LOT of electricity so that we don’t have to take ten seconds daily to plug and unplug.

    Right.

    • Vince

      I agree Mike. Wireless charging cars (and cell phones for that matter) seems like nothing more than a gimmick.

      • No way

        Not really, for cars it will be standard pretty soon. Plugging it it and unplugging it is an inconvenience, even it it’s just a small one its still one that a lot of people would opt out of.

        • Omega Centauri

          I suspect you are right, there are enough people who otherwise just couldn’t be bothered.
          For my money, I’d much much much rather have a bigger battery. That station looks pricy, for the cost of it you could afford a few KWhours worth of additional LiIon battery.

        • http://barnardonwind.wordpress.com/ Mike Barnard

          “Wireless charging has a transfer efficiency of 70–80 percent; coupled with their own AC power conversion the overall charge efficiency hovers between 60 and 70 percent. In addition to efficiency losses, the wireless charger includes the “readiness” mode to identify the placement of an object, a feature that adds to power consumption.”

          http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/charging_without_wires

          Best case scenario.

          • Ronald Brakels

            So unless you are making about $1,000 an hour it pays to take the 10 seconds a day to plug in and unplug your car. And has no one come up with a device that automatically plugs in to a socket on the underside of the car? That seems to be the logical way to do it. If I had one of them I would call him Scooter.

          • No way

            Conductive instead of inductive is one way to go. Let’s see if someone makes it work good, then it might be interesting.

          • No way

            I haven’t seen any of the companies that actually have wireless charging on offer for cars show an efficiency of lower than 90%. And since it’s not that hard to test it would be very stupid to lie about those numbers.
            At 70-80% no one would get the system anyway.

        • Benjamin Nead

          Sorry, but I find plugging in and unplugging an EV to charge to be mindlessly simple. If a prospective driver is stymied by this, I’d rather they not be involved in the far more critical process of driving the vehicle through traffic.

          Wireless charging is less efficient than a physical plug-in connection, but less so now than just a few years ago.
          The problem I have with it is that it’s yet another vanity item designed to bump up the base price of the vehicle . . .
          a multi-thousand dollar system designed to replace a simple plug/wire system that costs maybe a few hundred dollar: a solution for a problem that doesn’t really exist.

          As for Toyota’s embrace of this, I’d be far more impressed if they simply offered the Plug-In Prius at all their US dealerships (they currently don’t) and make PHEV technology available on all Prius models (since every OEM is scared sh*tless to offer a small SUV or minivan with plug-in capability, Toyota could instantly rule the market with a plug-in Prius V.)

          And, while they’re at it, Toyota needs to put a serious-sized battery in the existing Plug-In Prius. The electric-only range is, what? . . . something like 12 or 15 miles? The problem with PHEVs is that auto manufactures want to make them as “un-electric” as possible but still capitalize on marketing them as “electric.” The idea should be reversed: make a car that is as electric as possible, with the gasoline engine only needed for the occasional long distance trip. What’s happening now is that many PHEVs are simply gasoline cars with a tiny battery for novelty electric driving. Much like the silly wireless charging scheme, it’s more style than substance.

          • Bob_Wallace

            And some people use electric toothbrushes. Even wireless ones.

            I’m more concerned about getting people into EVs. I’ll settle for ‘very good’ over ‘perfect’ if we can get ‘very good’ sooner.

            And, again, I think the real value is in public (parking lots and curbside) parking. Bury the senders in the pavement, establish wireless communication between car and charger, and Bob’s your uncle.

            (Not really. I’m too cheap to send you birthday presents.)

          • Benjamin Nead

            Ah yes, the electric toothbrush. My wife and son use these. Whenever the bristles wear down and it’s time to replace the brush heads, they pay almost $10 per unit . . .

            http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=406784&catid=186721&aid=338666&aparam=406784&kpid=406784&CAWELAID=120142990000065385&CAGPSPN=pla

            Meanwhile, the same plastic bristle wonder that I use – without the fancy interface to a vibrating handle – is available for about a third the cost . . .

            http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=15580&catid=183817&aid=338666&aparam=15580&kpid=15580&CAWELAID=120142990000017964&CAGPSPN=pla

            I, too, want to get people into EVs. But let’s put the money into good batteries and in sheet metal that can withstand a crash without doing harm to occupants. The gingerbread extras can be loaded into the luxury models.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m willing to bet that there are a number of people who will say to themselves –

            “I don’t have to go to the gas station or mess around with an electric cord if I get an EV with wireless charging. I’m going to get an EV.”

            As long as they are paying for the extra electricity and realizing that most new generation added from here on out is likely to be renewable, I’m fine with that.

            It’s like leasing solar panels. Not the best financial solution for the person leasing, but if it gets panels installed I’m happier than I would be with fewer panels.

          • Dan Johnson

            Electric toothbrushes to a much better job of cleaning your teeth; and an especially good job in cleaning your gums. The high cost of the electric toothbrush offsets the costs of dentist bills and poor oral health.

          • No way

            It’s mindlessly simple to change the channel on the TV (like we did once upon a time), yet we have remotes.
            How about people with remotes to the TV, should they be on the roads?

            It’s not a “multi-thousand dollar system”. I would be surprised if the wireless charging would cost more than $100 a piece to mass produce.

            In most cars it will surely be optional so don’t worry you probably don’t have to have one if you don’t want to. :)

            The rest of the post I totally agree on.

          • Benjamin Nead

            “It’s mindlessly simple to change the channel on the TV (like we did once upon a time), yet we have remotes.
            How about people with remotes to the TV, should they be on the roads?”

            No, but try to change the channel on some current TVs if the remote gets misplaced or the batteries have run down and you don’t have handy spares. Sometimes the older, simpler and slightly more labor intensive systems have their advantages. Depending on where I am in my small study, I switch on/off my small TV or change channels by either the touch display under the screen or with the remote. I like having the choice of doing it either way.

            “It’s not a “multi-thousand dollar system”. I would be surprised if the wireless charging would cost more than $100 a piece to mass produce.”

            An entry level home EVSE is at least several hundred dollars to purchase and considerably more for a licensed technician to wire into the house’s breaker box. A wireless system will have all those concerns and even more, considering that one has to factor the installation of an induction device within newly poured concrete, or jackhammering an existing slab to install the device.

            “In most cars it will surely be optional so don’t worry you probably don’t have to have one if you don’t want to. :)”

            Well, one can only hope. But manufacturers will push this sort of thing and make it virtually impossible to not get an EV without one. If we start seeing new EVs come equipped only with one of these things and no conventional plug, it’s as useless as a new TV without basic controls on the set that has a missing remote.

          • No way

            1. You are not removing the plug. You can always plug your car in if that is what you prefer (or is the only option available). It’s 2 options instead of 1.

            2. I meant the added cost when getting an EVSE/wall box. If you get a wall box you will be able to get it with just plug or plug + wireless for $100 more. The wireless part from the EVSE is basically just a cord and a coil (a bit simplified but almost true).

            3. No extra concerns (unless you wan to). Most wireless systems are just a flat box connected to a cord that you put on the floor of your garage.

            Something like this:

            http://www.hybridcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Bosch_Evatran_Plugless_Level2-668.jpg

            No extra cost for a technician, no concrete, no jack hammers. Unless you want to, which I doubt many home owner would do even if they were building a new garage.

            I hope that settled your worries a bit ;) You’re not losing anything, only gaining a convenience (if you want) at a small cost.

    • mikehusseymkh

      I just got paid $7500 working off my computer this month. And if you think that’s cool, my friend has twin toddlers and made over $8k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do…..

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      $[ IT REALLY WORKS, NOT FAKE ]$

      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      LOGON THE SITE –>CLICK NEXT TAB FOR MORE DETAIL AND HELP

    • mikehusseymkh

      I just got paid $7500 working off my computer this month. And if you think that’s cool, my friend has twin toddlers and made over $8k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do…..

      ➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜➜ NETPAY60.COM

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    • Spencerforhire

      You are last person I want to get in an argument with but I thought they had found a way to up the efficiency of that ? Charging from Solar roads etc…

      Keep up the good work!!

      • shanedem

        Start working at home with Google: I make $63 /hr on internet . I has been without a job for nine months but last month my pay was $10500 just working on the laptop for a few hours.

        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>====—— http://www.NETPAY10.com

        LOGON THE SITE –>>>CLICK NEXT TAB FOR MORE DETAIL AND HELP

    • Bob_Wallace

      It looks like Evatran is charging at just under 90% efficiency.

      13k miles at 0.3 kWh/mile and $0.12/kWh = $468/yr. 85% efficiency would add $70/yr., $0.19/day. I’ll bet a lot of people will be willing to pay that price for convenience.

      Electricity will be wasted. We’ll have to install ~10% more solar panels and wind turbines.

      But consider that the extra convenience will probably move some people to EVs faster than they would otherwise switch. The carbon cut created by retiring ICEVs outweighs the electricity loss, even if that ~10% comes from coal.

      The place I suspect plugless charging will dominate is public parking. Takes the cables and getting unplugged out of the picture.

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