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.