2017 Mercedes-Benz S550e will have wireless charging option

Mercedes, Qualcomm say an EV is not 'autonomous' if it can't recharge itself.

Don't say you weren't warned. Back in May 2015, Daimler and Qualcomm announced that they would be working together on electric vehicles with wireless charging. Today, the fruit of that partnership can be seen in the upcoming 2017 Mercedes-Benz S550e plug-in hybrid, which will offer Qualcomm's wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) technology. This will be the first "plug-in vehicle" that will come with a wireless charging option from the automaker (aftermarket options for the most popular EVs have been available for a few years now).

Qualcomm's Halo WEVC comes from the world of Formula E, where it has been highlighted in the BMW i8 safety car. Since Qualcomm doesn't actually build its own parts to sell to automakers, the 3.6-kW system in the S550e will be made by a Tier 1 power electronics supplier under license from Qualcomm. A wireless S550e will be able to simply park over a pad on the ground to start charging, which will happen at about 90 percent efficiency.

More importantly, in the press release announcing the WEVC S550e, Qualcomm and Mercedes say that this wireless option is, "an important step in making self-driving cars truly autonomous." There's an important reason for this, because, "you cannot call a car 'autonomous' if it cannot fuel/recharge itself." The race is on.

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