Mercedes and BMW announced they are sharing the design and production of a wireless charging system, which will soon begin testing on the 2015 Mercedes S 500 HYBRID. In the process, they will be establishing protocols that could become standard for all wireless charging systems in the future.
At present, the system charges at the rate of 3.6 kW – enough to charge a plug-in hybrid vehicle in about 3 hours. The goal is to bump that to 7 kW, which would allow a fully electric car to be fully charged up overnight.
The system consists of a primary coil permanently installed in the ground or garage floor. A secondary coil mounted low in the car’s chassis receives the energy from the primary and sends it to the battery at about 90% efficiency. Sensors will instantly shut the system down if an obstruction gets in the space between the coils, so you don’t have to worry about the neighbor’s cat getting fried while you sleep. Testing will begin on a fleet of the 2015 Mercedes S 500 HYBRID shortly.
Toyota is also working on wireless charging for its next generation Prius plug in hybrid. The Toyota folks are working hard to reduce the need for precise positioning of the vehicle before wireless charging can begin.
People need to have a certain comfort level with new technology before they decide to spend their money on it. The convenience of wireless charging will make it easier for prospective buyers to get comfortable with owning a plug in hybrid or electric automobile.