Some of Volkswagen's plug-in hybrids and electric models like the e-Golf (pictured above) might be ditching the cord in the coming years. The giant automaker has plans in place to offer wireless – or inductive – charging as an option on some models as soon as 2017, according to reports. Owners would get the added convenience of juicing up at home by simply parking their cars over a sensor and walking away.

While it seems like a great addition to plug-in vehicles, inductive charging still faces some hurdles before it becomes more prevalent. There are currently competing standards for the tech. If Volkswagen enters the market too early, buyers could be left out in the cold with cars only able to use an unsupported specification. "For example, if you have different cars in your household or in your company you do not want to buy such an inductive charging system for each car. You can expect it in more-or-less three years when we are ready to bring it into the market," said VW engineer Herbert Ruholl to Ecomento.

The additional inductive charger also won't be cheap. Currently there are no automakers that offer the system as an option on models, but Evatran offers an aftermarket upgrade called Plugless for the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt that adds the tech for around $3,000. Toyota has been testing a wirelessly charged Prius in Japan and is licensing the WiTricity induction standard. If it acts fast, VW could be one of the first to bring the innovation directly to customers.

We spoke to VW about inductive charging. "We haven't got anything planned short-term on that," said Mark Gillies, VW US Product and Technology Manager, so we wouldn't expect inductive charging to show up on US vehicles for a few more years, at least.


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  • 29 Comments
      Psyclist
      • 9 Months Ago
      So one spends the extra premium to own an electric vehicle, but then negates a substantial amount of that new found efficiency because they dont want to plug it in? And the added cost of an inductive charger install at home as well as the added weight of the coil on the car...Were hardly out of the gate on this whole electric thing and companies are looking at frivolous things like this? How about some research into better batteries instead? meaning lighter, or higher charge cycle endurance or power density increases perhaps...Wireless charging isnt something we need at this point, it moves the Total cost of ownership in the wrong direction...focus on getting electric right, with a good range and lighten up the cars, thats where the focus should be.
        Spec
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Psyclist
        This is an easy gee-whiz thing to do so it is brought up all the time. Making better/cheaper batteries is hard. My usual: I think wireless charging is a great OPTION that should be available to people that want it. But I don't think an added expense is something EVs really need right now. (And the energy loss is not great either.)
      Ricardo Gozinya
      • 9 Months Ago
      Seems like there's a lot more important issues dealing with EVs, why bring something expensive and essentially useless into it? Is plugging in really that hard? There's also the inefficiency of it, which makes the whole wireless thing a big waste of electricity. Seems like it would be more productive for automakers to come up with ways to increase the efficiency of their EVs, not decrease it.
      Tweaker
      • 8 Months Ago
      Don't they actually have to start producing and selling plugins first?
      Levine Levine
      • 8 Months Ago
      VW and Audi(owned by VW) will promise you the moon by 2017.
      vi_per
      • 9 Months Ago
      Brain cancer. The new #1 killer by 2017.
      POD
      • 8 Months Ago
      What happens when you park a soaking wet car over this gizmo?
      SublimeKnight
      • 9 Months Ago
      When EVs hit 150 mile ranges, most people won't have to charge everyday. In fact, with the average being around 30 miles a day, it would be a once every few days thing. If we see affordable 300 mile EVs its a once a week occurrence. I just don't see it being a feature that's worth a heck of a lot of money down the line.
        txdesign
        • 9 Months Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        An excellent comment. Not everyone has a 100 mile plus commute. An EV would be perfect for me since I work from a home office but the car I want (Tesla S) I can't afford and all the others are not too my liking in terms of design. Hoping for the Tesla Model E.
        txdesign
        • 9 Months Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        An excellent comment. Not everyone has a 100 mile plus commute. An EV would be perfect for me since I work from a home office but the car I want (Tesla S) I can't afford and all the others are not too my liking in terms of design. Hoping for the Tesla Model E.
        txdesign
        • 9 Months Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        An excellent comment. Not everyone has a 100 mile plus commute. An EV would be perfect for me since I work from a home office but the car I want (Tesla S) I can't afford and all the others are not too my liking in terms of design. Hoping for the Tesla Model E.
      DMS502
      • 9 Months Ago
      Why not bring a decent selection of electric vehicles first... Then worry about how the consumer charges it. Just a thought!
      RSS007
      • 8 Months Ago
      This is great. Years ago, I sent this idea to Ford, but instead of saying its a good idea, I got a reply back from them," that they will not be pursuing this idea of inductive charging. They will pass on it.". Should have gone to VW. Lol.
      john m
      • 9 Months Ago
      I think this is pretty cool tech. This might be great in apartments, hotels/motels and other places where it would be difficult to plug in.
      john m
      • 9 Months Ago
      I think this is pretty cool tech. This might be great in apartments, hotels/motels and other places where it would be difficult to plug in.
        Spec
        • 8 Months Ago
        @john m
        Ugh . . . this does nothing to address that issue.
        Joeviocoe
        • 8 Months Ago
        @john m
        This is a case of hidden costs. The EVSE charger is still there... but there is an extra high voltage, high frequency piece of equipment, that is hidden from the user. On the floor and on the garage... this ADDS expense and complexity.
        Ricardo Gozinya
        • 8 Months Ago
        @john m
        Actually it would just be a lot more expensive than putting in a few charging stations.
      porosavuporo
      • 8 Months Ago
      J1773 aka Magne Charge is rolling over in the grave.
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