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Wireless electric vehicle charging explained

The concept of electric car charging over wireless is the stuff of science-fiction. You pull into a parking space with your aerodynamic roadster and magnetic resonance conduction sends a stream of electricity to your vehicle as you munch on salty chips. Then, Doc Brown jumps out from behind a curtain.

But get this: Qualcomm is set to roll-out a limited trial in London during the second half of 2012. The technology, called Qualcomm Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC), is deep into development cycles and set to launch with Renault sometime in the next three to five years.

The main advantage is convenience. Electric charging is a bothersome process for most drivers. You have to park in a designated area, connect your vehicle to a charging station, and then wait several hours for the charge to take place.

Wireless electric car charging

Some newer vehicles, such as the Ford Focus Electric, do charge in a shorter period of time, but you still have to find a charging station or tap up the power at home before you head out for the day. Wireless charging would solve one of the primary headaches: the trouble of having to get out of the vehicle and make the connections for charging.

According to Dr. Anthony Thomson, the vice president of business development at Qualcomm (and the former CEO of HaloIPT before the Qualcomm acquisition), wireless charging is now reaching a more mature stage and could be debuting at your local filling station in the next few years.
How WEVC works

The technology doesn’t use a flux capacitor. Instead, there’s a charging pad installed in the parking stall that streams power using magnetic resonance conduction to a charge pad on the underside of the vehicle.

The technology relies on basic principles of physics: the magnetic field is created by increasing the wireless frequency from around 50-60 hertz up to 40,000 hertz.


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