Originally published on Gas2.
Wireless electric vehicle charging has been getting a strong dose of attention for years. Is it the future? Is it not? Is it? The questions and the people claiming to know the answer run in circles. I’m waiting to make any final predictions myself, but I’m eagerly watching the progress. The latest piece of news on this front is interesting, as it has Mojo Mobility and Hyundai-Kia America teaming up to fast charge your electric car wirelessly.
Of course, electric cars are often charged over night, and fast charging isn’t particularly necessary over night (unless you’re an insomniac who can’t keep your ass inside), but there are some potentially big benefits to such a technology: it could be used by taxi drivers, bus drivers, Uber drivers, and impatient bastards who have a hard time remembering to plug stuff in. (I’m sure that’s exactly what was on the minds of the DOE officials who recently dropped a grant on Mojo Mobility and Hyundai-Kia America to develop this technology.
Dr. Sung Hwan Cho, president of Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center (HATCI), noted, “Innovative technologies such as this align well with one of our core goals, which is to create a vehicle experience that is intuitive and easy for the consumer.” Boooring. But yeah, the tech is cool.
So, anyway, what’s the news? Kia writes, “HATCI and Mojo Mobility will develop, implement and demonstrate a wireless power transfer system on a test fleet of Kia Soul EVs over three phases, at HATCI in Superior Twp., Michigan, and Mojo Mobility in Santa Clara, California.”
Of course, the company behind the wireless charging tech is actually Mojo Mobility (and, btw, is that not one of the coolest company names out there?). One of the mojo-infused people at Mojo Mobility, CEO and founder Dr. Afshin Partovi, “We are delighted to partner with Kia and the U.S. DOE to bring the cutting-edge capabilities of our position-free wireless charging systems, which allow greater flexibility for vehicle alignment with the charging surface, to Kia Motors’ electric vehicles and accelerate their adoption and ease of use for consumers.” Boooring. But yeah, the tech is cool.
No, no news on when you’ll be able to by this tech, but here are some more deets:
During Phase One, the partnership developed a wireless power transfer system that has more than 85 percent grid-to-vehicle efficiency and is capable of transferring in excess of 10 kW to the vehicle for fast charging. The new system will allow misalignment between the energy transmitter on the ground and the energy receiver on the vehicle, making it easier and more convenient for day-to-day usage. In Phase Two, the partnership collaborated to integrate a compact system optimized for the Soul EV and demonstrate full operation at a record 92 percent efficiency. Real-world performance data will be gathered in the third and final phase of the project using five Kia Soul EVs and corresponding energy transmission units. This final phase will test the systems’ durability, interoperability, safety, and performance.
92% efficiency is really getting up there. They could really be on to something. Keep your eye on Mojo.