MAHLE, a top 20 global Tier 1 supplier to the automotive industry, has agreed to license WiTricity’s patented magnetic resonance wireless charging technology. Headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, the companies plan to develop additional innovative solutions for global car makers as they work to bring new vehicle platforms for e-mobility to market particularly in Europe and Asia.
MAHLE currently supplies engine components and thermal air conditioning systems to the automotive industry. In 2017, it generated worldwide sales of more than $13 billion. It has 78,000 employees at 170 production locations in more than 30 countries around the world.
Dr. Jörg Stratmann, CEO of MAHLE, says “This addition to the MAHLE portfolio provides us with a crucial element for the long-term acceptance and expansion of e-mobility. We believe this technology offers strong market potential. Our solution will enable fast, reliable and highly efficient charging.”
Wireless charging is a small piece of the charging puzzle now but is poised to grow exponentially in the future. Along with not needing drivers to actually plug in a charging cable, it greatly simplifies the mechanism for charging cars autonomously.
For instance, once cars are able to move themselves around a parking lot without a human driver, it would be super simple to have many wireless enabled cars charge up during the work day, then shuttle off to another part of the lot to allow another autonomous car to use the wireless charging equipment. It would also be ideal for keeping the batteries of electric vehicles charged up in long term parking facilities at airports.
Once self-driving cars become commonplace (moving about in a geofenced area at speeds under 10 mph shouldn’t be that hard a job), employers wouldn’t have to install so many conventional chargers and provide time during the work day for employees to go out and move their cars once they are fully charged so other drivers can access the charging equipment.
WiTricity is already working with Nissan and Honda on wireless charging technology. Someday, it may be as commonplace as smartphones. When you think about it, it’s an idea that just makes so much sense it’s no wonder everybody is clamoring for it. A few years ago, wireless chargers were limited to 3.3 kW of power, but the latest systems are already capable of 11 kW of power and 22 kW is on the horizon.
“We are excited to enter into a relationship with MAHLE given its rich history of technical leadership in the automotive industry and given its aggressive investment in e-mobility,” says Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity. “Wireless charging is key to accelerating EV sales, and we are proud to work with MAHLE to bring WiTricity technology to customers around the world.”
WiTricity is working directly with leading car makers and standards organizations such as SAE International, International Electrotechnical Commission, International Organization for Standards, and various groups in China to drive global standards for wireless charging systems. That’s a smart move. Standards will play a vital role in bringing the electric car revolution to millions more drivers.