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Wireless Power Transmission Could Be Future of Electric Cars, Or Not

The recent EVS27 conference in Barcelona was an opportunity to explore a technology which has made headlines, but still needs a lot more careful thought and education: wireless charging. AT EVS, two companies displayed wireless solutions, Qualcomm and Brusa, an American start-up and a Swiss company with decades of experience in EV engineering. I went to both booths.

Everybody talks about wireless charging but that’s not even the right name for the technology. This is actually wireless power transmission (WPT) via a magnetic field between a transmitting coil on the garage floor and a receiving coil on the underside of the car. The charging process is distinct, and only begins after the coil in the car has transformed the energy it received in electricity.

The parking pad has to be quite big, and actually, the bigger the better because the device needs a degree of tolerance for misalignment. Brusa’s parking pad was a bit larger and thicker than the one from Qualcomm. The Brusa unit had a tough industrial look, while the Qualcomm pad looked more like a home appliance. The American company obviously spent more time on design, and it also displayed a whole range of vehicle receivers. Size matters here: 3.3 kW; 6.6 kW and even up to 20 kW. A strong current can be sent via a magnetic field but it will need a larger receiving pad fitted to the car.
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