WiTricity, a startup spun out of MIT, has announced that Toyota has licensed its inductive charging technology for electric vehicles, and that it intends to incorporate wireless charging capability into future cars.
Wireless induction charging has been gaining recognition over the past few years as a convenient way to charge electric cars. When people discuss wireless induction chargers, they usually treat them as frivolous/convenience devices that enable you to avoid plugging in manually. The truth is, however, these devices can do much more than that.
Wireless EV charging stations can help alleviate the (quite hyped, but still problematic) range anxiety issue in a number of ways. And they can genuinely make our lives easier.
- They can automatically charge your car every time it is in the garage, so forgetting to plug in won’t be an issue.
- They can charge your car safely when it is raining, so you don’t have to mess with the electric plug in the rain.
- They can be installed in your office’s parking lot so that your car can charge automatically during the day while you are working and you have full range when you are ready to leave. At such locations the power to charge can often be provided by on-site solar panels.
- Finally, the benefit with the greatest potential: They can be installed along roadways where there are traffic stops so that people’s cars are topped up a little during their trips, or topped up quite a bit in the event of traffic jams. Don’t you just love the thought of getting something good out of something unpleasant like a traffic jam?
Apparently, Toyota thinks the benefits are worth the investment. According to a press release published at the end of last week, Toyota intends to try wireless charging technology in some of its vehicles in the US, Japan, and Europe next year.
“Having made an equity investment in WiTricity in 2011 to accelerate the development of automotive wireless charging systems and acceptance by carmakers, Toyota has cooperated technically with the company for the past several years. Under this intellectual property license agreement, Toyota will offer wireless charging power capture devices on their future rechargeable hybrid electric and battery electric vehicles. Compatible wireless charging sources will be manufactured by third party charging system suppliers, under license from WiTricity.”
“Earlier this year, Satoshi Ogiso—one of the engineers who headed development of the first Prius—said Toyota will begin verifying a wireless power charging system next year in the U.S., Europe, and Japan,” IEEE Spectrum notes. “Nissan, which makes the all-electric Leaf, is working on a wireless charging system and told reporters last year that it intends to offer it as an option in a 2015 model year Infiniti. Daimler and Volvo are also working on wireless charging and Bosch already sells a wireless charging system for the Leaf and Chevy Volt.”
We’ve covered a number of wireless EV charging stories over the years. For a look at just some of those, including previous coverage of this Toyota story, check out:
- Qualcomm Halo Wireless EV Charging Video
- Future Prius PHEV May Have Wireless Charging
- Smooth Sailing For Evatran’s Wireless EV Charging Demo
- Hertz Tests Wireless EV Charging in the US
- Drayson Racing Hooks Up With Qualcomm For Wireless Charging
- Affordable, Wireless EV Charging A-Go-Go
- Wireless EV Charging Gets a $4 Million Charge from DOE
- Formula E Races Will Leave Behind Wireless EV Chargers For Public Use
- Wireless Car Charging Using Manhole Covers In NYC
- Bosch Offers Wireless EV Charger For $3,000
- Wireless EV Charging Reaches Europe
Follow me on Twitter at @Kompulsa.
Find more stories like these in our Wireless Car Charging Channel.
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.