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Cutting the cord: GM tests wireless car chargers for EVs, self-driving cars

Lucas Mearian | Dec. 21, 2016
Wireless charging will enable self-driving cars to charge themselves by pulling into a parking spot

In addition to GM, WiTricity has technology licensing agreements with other major automakers, such as Toyota, and Tier 1 parts suppliers, such as Delphi, TDK, IHI and BRUSA, to bring its wireless EV charging to production.

The convenience of wireless charging goes beyond not having to plug a cable into an EV, Gruzen said. The technology can be used for both plug-in hybrids and pure EVs.

"As many as 70% of [plug-in hybrid EV] customers are not bothering to plug in because they have the option to just use gas. That is a waste of the potential to dramatically reduce carbon footprint," Gruzen said. "We want to make charging seamless and never have a customer postpone charging, or arrive to a car in the morning that they forgot to plug in."

Additionally, charging pads would allow self-driving vehicles, including those being tested by ride hailing services such as Uber, to charge themselves by simply pulling into a parking spot, which is "perhaps the most compelling reason," Gruzen added.

"This future cannot be realized without wireless charging. Fleets of shared vehicles must have wireless charging -- there is no one to plug them in," he said. "We see broad availability of wireless charging and autonomous vehicles converging in the next few years."

 

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