GM to test wireless electric car charging

GM Sequel Concept. X05CC_CO022



Until charging points are as plentiful as gas stations and topping up batteries as fast as filling a traditional fuel tank, many will still think twice about buying an electric car. But what if every time an electric car was stationary its batteries were automatically charging?
GM has just become the first US carmaker to deliver on its promise of an affordable electric car capable of covering the average driver’s daily commute without running out of juice. But, instead of resting on its laurels, it’s announced a partnership with WiTricity to develop a prototype wireless charging pad that could keep a car charged up every time it’s in a parking space or the owner’s garage.
“The electric vehicle has been recognized as central to the future of mobility, and GM has been a leader, making EVs accessible to the broader market. The convenience of wireless charging will help accelerate adoption even further,” said Alex Gruzen, CEO, WiTricity.
The prototype pad would potentially charge any type of electric car including plug-in hybrids and would have a charge rate of between 7.7 and 11kW. “Wireless charging for EVs, based on industry standards, is inevitable as we move toward a future of self-driving and autonomous vehicles, and this project brings us one step closer to realizing our vision of a world powered wirelessly,” Gruzen said.
Wireless charging is already beginning to gain momentum among mobile device makers as a hassle-free way of ensuring smartphones and even PCs always have sufficient juice to be of service. And while there has been exploratory work on how induction charging pads integrated into a road surface could keep an electric vehicle going all day, projects have been small-scale and isolated.
For example in Italy, electric bus fleets in Turin and Genoa have been using induction chargers since 2002. The tiny top-ups at bus stops add up to 15% battery life — enough to ensure that each bus can cover a full 125 miles in a day without stopping to be plugged in and recharged properly.
WiTricity’s initial pad will be
one that car owners can use at home, but work on the project could easily lead to more powerful systems that could be integrated into infrastructure.
“Wireless charging is a technology that our customers have told us they are interested in,” said Pamela Fletcher, GM Executive Chief Engineer – Electrified Vehicles. “By testing the WiTricity prototype system, we can ensure that wireless charging systems will comply with proposed industry standards, which benefits the entire industry and consumers.”

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