For a number of years, Toyota Motor Company has been investigating and developing wireless charging for electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Since 2011, Toyota has invested heavily in the research being done by WiTricity, which has been developing wireless charging options for plug-in vehicles. The technology itself was invented by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers. In a statement, WiTricity CEO Eric Giler said, “WiTricity’s mission is to make wireless charging available as widely as possible… We envision a world in which wireless charging accelerates the adoption of clean, green electrified vehicles. To have Toyota, the world’s leading carmaker, licensing our intellectual property, underscores the importance of the technology.”
Currently, the only way to recharge a plug-in vehicle is via heavy cable. Of course, a conventional vehicle refuels once a week or so, and requires no more of some of us than to pull up to a filling station. This all changes when you are driving a plug-in vehicle. Charging stations are becoming more common, but one has to wonder about the type of abuse they have to endure, with so many users plugging and unplugging. Damage is sure to result, but what about a wireless charging option for your plug-in vehicle.
Vehicles equipped with a wireless charging receiver can simply park over a wireless charging transmitter, buried in the road, disguised as a manhole cover, or simply bolted to the floor of the garage. Charging is virtually effortless, which makes daily charging your plug-in vehicle a zero-hassle experience. WiTricity working together with a leading plug-in vehicle maker, Toyota, is sure to make a big impact in the adoption of plug-in vehicles, with an associated decrease in carbon dioxide emissions.
WiTricity’s approach to wireless charging isn’t quite the same as traditional inductive charging or resonance charging. Instead, using a shielded near field magnetic coupling, WiTricity has been able to achieve up to 90% efficiency over distances from millimeters to meters. Additionally, this new technology is entirely safe for humans and animals. Expect to see WiTricity-enabled wireless charging soon on Toyota plug-in vehicles.
Image © WiTricity