While Toyota has just announced an exclusive partnership with WiTricity, intiatives are growing to simplify the process of recharging EVs.
While the sales of electric cars in the United States tripled in 2012, the development of this market still meets several structural limits in particular regarding the process of recharging the vehicles which constitutes a little effective and very time-consuming stage for the users. To mitigate this lack, numerous laboratories and big companies join efforts to explore new opportunities simplifying this process. The last project in date, the partnership between WiTricity and Toyota is aiming at designing a new generation of wireless electric cars. Toyota should market these new models by the end of 2014 in Europe and in the United States.
American WiTricity, a start-up specialized in the techniques of wireless recharging announced this week the implementation of an intellectual property partnership with the automobile manufacturer Toyota. Founded by an engineer of the MIT WiTricity should assist Toyota to fluidify the user experience of hybrid and electric cars by allowing them to get rid of a cumbersome and inefficient infrastructure.These processes of simplification rely on wireless induction chargers: the electricity stemming from regular power source such as outlets is converted in magnetic field then reconverted to electric current during its transmission to the connected object. This technology would allow the user to free herself from numerous daily constraints including the hassle of plugging the car every night or the danger of using an electric plug under the rain. Furthermore this technology could be easily implemented along main roads and freeways, allowing users to automatically charge their vehicles whenever they have to stop.
Expanding interoperability to smooth the experience
A few other companies have been interested in building up new models of wireless batteries. GM for instance started a project, EV1, a few years ago which quickly ran out of steam. Nissan is currently working on a similar project with its upcoming model Infiniti which should be released in 2015 and should incorporate wireless technology as well. Qualcomm is one of the key players of the sectors and has launched a few projects, including one partnering with Renault in London and allowing users to charge their cars in public parking lots. In order to make those changes possible and efficient a few key players have decided to team up to provide enhanced operability between different operators and providers. SAE International published a set of guidelines which defines global standards for power transfer rates and the frequency used.