Daihen Corporation, based in Osaka, Japan, is a global company specializing in power transmission products and industrial robots. It is now embarking on a plan to bring wireless charging systems to electric vehicle manufacturers and owners. It has selected the DRIVE 11 technology pioneered by WiTricity, based in Watertown, Massachusetts, as the basis of those wireless offerings.
“DAIHEN saw wireless power transfer as a foundational technology for the factory of the future, and as we planned our entrance into the automotive market, we knew that WiTricity’s technology would be a natural and necessary fit,” said Ryohei Tanaka, DAIHEN general manager and chief engineer of research and development in a press release. “WiTricity’s technology offers flexible and efficient wireless charging experiences, and its DRIVE 11 system enables us to deliver that experience to the rapidly expanding global EV market.”
The WiTricity DRIVE 11 system has a charging pad that can be mounted on or flush with the ground. The pad uses WiTricity’s patented magnetic resonance technology to send power to a vehicle parked above it, requiring no cables or moving parts. The DRIVE system has industry-leading charge and efficiency rates and is can be used with cars that sit low to the ground or vehicles with a higher stance like SUV’s. Automakers, Tier 1 automotive suppliers, and technology providers like WiTricity are working together to develop global standards that will enable all vehicles equipped for wireless charging to receive power at any wireless charging station. Interoperability between charging networks is a key consideration when bringing wireless charging systems to market.
Standards are vital to widespread adoption of any technology. In the area of electric vehicle charging, there are currently three charging standards — CHAdeMO, CCS, and the Tesla Supercharger system. The soon the world adopts one standard that all auto manufacturers make use of, the sooner electric vehicles will transition from being curiosities to being the choice of mainstream drivers.
“We are excited to expand our relationship with Daihen as it enters the automotive market with its historical leadership in high-power electronics,” said Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity. “The convenience of EV wireless charging is key to accelerating EV sales beyond today’s early adopters, and we are proud to work with Daihen to bring WiTricity technology to customers around the world.”
In addition to commercial parking lots and other public parking facilities, Daihen believes wireless charging will appeal strongly to electric car owners for use at home. Being able to simply drive into their garage, park, and walk away knowing their car will be fully charged in the morning without the need to plug in a charging cable is a feature most drivers would appreciate. WiTricity is already working closely on wireless charging systems with Nissan and General Motors.
Daihen already provides wireless charging systems for industrial uses, including autonomous transportation devices that operate 24 hours a day moving parts and materials in warehouse and factory settings.