• Sep 27th 2011 at 1:58PM
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Mitsubishi Motors has teamed with Boston-based WiTricity and Japan's IHI Corporation to research and develop a program designed to make wireless charging a reality for plug-in vehicle owners.

It's hoped that the collaboration will advance the development of a real-world wireless charging solutions, which Mitsubishi claims will make recharging electric vehicles, including its 2012 i and i-MiEV, simpler and more convenient.

Mitsubishi aims to install WiTricity's wireless charging system in shopping center parking lots and other public areas, as well as at individual homes. The thought here is that Mitsubishi's project will clarify legal issues connected to wireless charging technology and lead to rules governing the use and deployment of such systems. The Japanese automaker will outfit an undisclosed amount of its electric vehicles with WiTrcity's "power capture resonators" to partake in the project.

At this time, no detailed info on the whereabouts or timing of Mitsubishi's wireless charging project has been made public, so we may as well dream that the plan is everywhere, for everyone.
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WiTricity Corporation, IHI Corporation, and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation Combine to Develop Easily Deployable Wireless Charging Systems for Electric Vehicles

- Partnership to take the first step toward making plugging in obsolete -

TOKYO, Sept. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- WiTricity Corporation (WiTricity), IHI Corporation (IHI) and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) have agreed to join forces to research and develop easily deployable electric vehicle (EV) wireless charging systems readily compatible with electric grids which will make life easier for EV users in the future. The partnership structure of three major players in the wireless charging, electric infrastructure, and EV areas coming together will accelerate the popularization of wireless charging systems for EVs by developing systems that are usable "right out of the box" for individuals, governments, and other entities including power companies in order to make it easier and quicker for them to roll out such systems.

The aim of the collaboration is to make EVs remarkably more convenient for owners by accelerating the popularization (and thus availability) of wireless charging at homes and shopping center parking lots, etc.

Wireless charging systems allow transfer of energy from a source placed on or under the ground, to a vehicle equipped with an energy capture device. Charging occurs automatically when the vehicle is parked, with no physical contact between the vehicle and the charging source. WiTricity has already developed and brought to market its patented magnetic resonance wireless charging system*1. The system that WiTricity has developed can transfer energy further and more efficiently in comparison to conventional systems such as electromagnetic induction and microwave transmission, pushing the possibilities of wireless charging by being able to deliver up to 3.3 kW of charging power over distance of 20cm (almost 8 inches) at an efficiency rate of more than 90%, in manner that is safe and very user friendly. Systems based on WiTricity technology offer smaller size and lighter weight as compared to conventional systems, and operate with no moving parts.

The three companies will combine state-of-the-art wireless charging technology, electric power infrastructure know-how and over four decades of EV research, development, and technology to make easily deployable wireless charging systems for EVs over three steps: research and development, real-world testing, and commercialization.

The first step will include:

Finding the most appropriate and easiest ways of incorporating wireless charging systems into EV charging infrastructure
Clarifying legal matters regarding the new technology and create proposals for rules governing the use of such systems
Testing of wireless charging systems with EVs fitted with power charging receptors internally

WiTricity CEO, Eric Giler noted about the new collaboration: "Electric vehicles offer great potential for reducing CO2 emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. However, they must be user friendly, and wireless charging is an important feature that greatly improves the user experience. We are excited to work with industry leaders MMC and IHI on this important program."

Mr. Kazuaki Kama, IHI's President and Chief Executive Officer, stated "Wireless charging is strategic to IHI. As a supplier of public infrastructure, IHI is deeply motivated to develop systems that are environmentally sound. We believe that user friendly wireless charging will contribute to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles -- an important step forward for 21st century society. Working together with Mitsubishi Motors and WiTricity, leaders in electric vehicles and wireless technology, we aim to become a leading world-wide supplier of wireless charging stations for public, commercial, and residential parking environments."

Mr. Osamu Masuko, President of MMC added "Like we have done with promotion and education of electric vehicle infrastructure such as quick-chargers and being involved with "smart grid" technology, we are happy to enter into a new phase of electric vehicle infrastructure development. I am confident we can be a major contributor along with WiTricity and IHI to quickly make widespread wireless charging for electric vehicles a reality."

*1: Magnetic Resonance Wireless Charging System

A type of wireless charging system, that plants coil and condenser both the transmitter and receptor, and transmits power when the transmitter's magnetic resonance is synchronized with the receptor. The process is similar to when a singer projects just the right sound to shatter a wine glass. It has a distinct advantage in offering freedom when considering charging structure, as the transmitter and receptor can function at various angles, instead of just top and bottom.

About WiTricity

WiTricity Corporation designs, develops, manufactures, and markets technology for wireless energy transfer. Founded in 2007, the company is commercializing technology invented by a team of renowned MIT physicists. This technology utilizes magnetism to transfer energy without wires in a way that is safe, efficient, and that works over distance. For more information, visit http://www.witricity.com.

About IHI Corporation

IHI has already concluded an agreement with WiTricity to license its technology. IHI aims to become the supplier for wireless charging systems not only for EVs but for industrial use through joint development with WiTricity.

For more information, visit http://www.ihi.co.jp/en/index.html.

About Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

MMC became the first major automobile maker to launch as mass-produced EV, by releasing the i-MiEV new-generation electric vehicle in Japan in 2009. The i-MiEV is now being sold in countries around the world, following export to Europe and other countries beginning from 2010. The next step is North America, where sales are set to begin in fall 2011. As of the end of August 2011, MMC has already produced about 15,000 i-MiEVs. In 2011 MMC has taken another step further by introducing an entry-grade level i-MiEV in Japan that costs the customer less than 2,000,000 yen after incentives. MMC also plans introduce a light commercial electric vehicle, called the MINICAB-MiEV in Japan in winter 2011. For more information about the i-MiEV, please visit http://www.mitsubishi-motors.com/special/ev/.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      nbsr, You might be right, however, your assumption easily can be another "flat earth" or "heavier than air flying machines" won't fly theory. Only the almighty time will show it. And we'll see...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Any one with cell phones are latops know more charging wears a battery down. It is a proven fact. The more a battery takes a charge the les it will hold.
      • 3 Years Ago
      There is only one feasible inductive charging system - the one using big lump of iron and
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds like ideal technology for dynamic charging on some of the bus lanes, for virtually unlimited city mileage. Germans are also working on wireless dynamic/static charging to provide up to a megawatt of power to on-street running light rail vehicles, buses and cars.
      • 3 Years Ago
      If it only was true... That 97% is obviously a marketing BS, even wired chargers (without all the additional power conversion steps and physics) don't perform that well. The cost difference is also fairly major and will only increase when wired chargers hit volume production. Expect pretty big variation of efficiency and power transfer in real world conditions. I can't tell the exact numbers but total efficiency of 10-70% and power transfer of 1-100% of nominal power are not much off. Finally, just plug the damn cord in - it has never been an issue with gas pumps so why all of a sudden the interest in wireless charging (refuelling)?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds like a great idea to me. Especially when EVs become common. I would think that it would be more efficient for parking lots. Time will tell.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Meh. Plugging in really isn't that hard. And the last thing EVs need is something that adds to their already high price.
        • 3 Years Ago
        - Wireless charging actually is the near-term future. Some even argue (e.g. Ford, supported by research) that Inductive (wireless) charging is more cost efficient than conductive charging: "Cost differences were minimal, while a conductive charging proponent [Ford] contended that conductive charging was more cost efficient." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_charging#Electric_vehicles - Wireless EV charging recently reached 97% efficiency and it can be installed into parking spots, so you just park and the charging automatically starts (without any cumbersome plugging in). http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/01/evatrans-plugless-power-wireless-ev-charger-gets-smaller-consc/ So, nothing can be really brought up against it, and it can also effectively popularize EVs (as wireless charging is just cool).
      • 3 Years Ago
      @nbsr, "just plug the damn cord in - it has never been an issue with gas pumps" At gas pumps you just fill your tank and leave, however, charging an EV is somewhat different, as it takes a bit more time. So, if you don't feel like guarding it for hours, you must leave your EV alone with a plug hooked on it. I let you finish this 'cool story bro'. Many automakers and other manufacturers are preparing the "wireless revolution", which will generate the economy of scale for the inductive charging (+ continuously improve it too). After that, I wish you the best of luck - as you'll need it - to convince any driver to choose the wired charging over the wireless.
      • 3 Years Ago
      krisztiant, aren't you worried about leaving your car in such a place? Or installing a charger there in the first place? If it's only about kids removing your plug for fun, how about kids putting metal disks on the chargers and shooting them 20 metres into the air (or into your car)? Believe or not, I'm actually in the wireless power business (albeit at much smaller scale). It's cool to be able to do such things but charging your *car* this way is outright stupid and dangerous. There will be no revolution here, sorry. People will quickly realize that the whole thing is just a marketing gimmick. In the worst case we may all be forced to buy and carry these devices around (like many other gadgets) but don't expect deployment of wireless chargers anywhere outside showrooms.