Mitsubishi (Japan), IHI (Japan), and WiTricity (USA) made a bold announcement this week – they predict that they will be able to jointly develop a zero contact wireless EV charging system. The basis of the wireless charging system is that by placing the charging port (in the EV frame) and the electricity supply port (in the charging station) in close proximity, wireless transmission of energy should be possible.
WiTricity has already developed and produced results using magnetic resonance equipment. Their system is more efficient than previously-developed electromagnetic induction and microwave transmission systems, and has a longer range. They claim that they can transmit over 3kW of power at a distance of 20 cm (eight inches) with 90% efficiency, thereby demonstrating that a wireless charging system is indeed possible.
While there are a number of steps before a wireless EV charging system can be produced and sold, the Mitsubishi/IHI/WiTricity partnership has decided on three issues as their first step, and are proceeding with research and development along those lines. The three issues in question are how to create the infrastructure, the legal issues and ramifications of such a system, and how to incorporate the transmission/receiving equipment into an EV frame.
If and when such a system is mass-produced for public consumption, the partnership hopes to market the product for use not only in the home and in commercial parking lots, but also in short-term public parking locations. Wish them luck – charging the car while it’s parked for half an hour downtown sounds awesome.