The 2017 Mercedes S550e will come equipped with wireless charging. No need to plug it in. Just drive over the charging pad and the car will do the rest. The charging components are manufactured by a Tier 1 supplier using technology developed by Qualcomm. Called Qualcomm Halo, the system is not just a benefit for Mercedes drivers today, it will be a vital for the self driving cars of the future. No car can be truly called autonomous unless it can find a charging point and connect to it without human assistance.
The Qualcomm Halo system uses resonant magnetic induction to transfer energy wirelessly from a pad installed on the ground to another pad integrated in the vehicle. Then the electrical energy is transferred efficiently and safely to an automobile’s battery.The system is 90% efficient. Better yet, efficiency rises as charging power is increased.
The Qualcomm wireless charging system has been tested and refined in the Formula E racing series for electric race cars. The BMW safety car for the series is equipped with Qualcomm Halo wireless charging technology. Lessons learned from the first two years of racing have been applied to the production system.
Mercedes, Qualcomm and other automakers are working together on wireless charging technology. Together they have devised a common set of benchmarks for wireless charging systems that have now been adopted by the SAE as part of its international automobile standards.
The Qualcomm Halo system installed on the Mercedes S550e will operate at a modest 3.6 kW of power but higher power systems are in the works. Qualcomm is testing 7.7 kW systems and says its technology could support up to 25 kW of power in the near future. The current system is more than adequate for most plug-in hybrids currently on the road, which tend to have fairly small batteries onboard. But pure electric cars will have much larger batteries and will need higher power in order to recharge in a reasonable amount of time.
One of the keys to public acceptance of electric cars will be convenience. Wireless charging will add a significant amount of easy usability for EV drivers who don’t want to be bothered with plugging in and then unplugging their cars. Every little bit that makes electric cars more appealing to mainstream buyers will be a step forward for the green car revolution.
Source: Electric Cars Report Image credit: Qualcomm