Wireless charging for iPhones, Tesla is bringing it to cars

In 2017, Apple launched a new generation of cell phones iPhone 8, outside of the bland, in fact, the product has a new feature that makes people bright – wireless charging, although the charging speed is slightly slower, the iPhone can finally get rid of the cable, with a mobile charging treasure. From iPhone 8 to the current MagSafe, wireless charging has been from the year’s chicken ribs function, into Apple’s other successful specialty, although there are still a lot of old machine friends spit, which has long been the year when Palm play leftover technology, but it may as well Cook a move to open up the consumer equipment wireless charging of the big market.
Now, the iPhone wireless charging technology may soon be used in electric cars. Recently, Business Insider reported that Tesla International BV is interested in acquiring Wiferion, a German company that specializes in wireless charging for electric vehicles. Back in March of this year, at Tesla’s Investor Day event, there was a page of Model S using wireless charging PPT, evoking people’s wireless reverie. When will Tesla adopt wireless charging technology, and can the latter solve the mileage anxiety problem of electric vehicles?
1. Charging in the air
Wiferion, the subject of this rumored acquisition, is a startup founded only in 2016, whose core business is to provide wireless power supply services for industrial electric vehicles and robots. The To B company currently divides its products into three types of energy supply solutions according to different energy supply targets, providing wireless charging support for automated guided vehicles (AGVs), autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), and automated trailers, respectively, and the core highlight of Wiferion’s products is to enable the different types of industrial vehicles mentioned above to realize uninterrupted energy supply during the working process, that is, charging and working at the same time. Officials say they will help partners achieve 24/7 operations, thus further driving the shift to unmanned, automated production.
The key to wireless charging for cars is to revolutionize the technology. That is to say, contact wireless charging, which is now widely used in consumer electronics, needs to be iterated. In terms of units of measurement, the distance has increased from millimeters to centimeters. However the fundamentals of energy generation and delivery have not changed. Like the Qi standard in the smartphone sector, wireless charging of car batteries is still essentially based on the principle of electromagnetic induction. That is, an alternating current is fed into the transmitter to generate an alternating magnetic field, which generates an induced current at the receiver, thereby realizing the charging operation.
As the power battery is generally fixed on the chassis, there are tens of centimeters away from the ground. In an electromagnetic field, the transmission efficiency of such a loosely coupled system (where the transmitter and receiver coils are far apart) is usually significantly reduced. The wireless charging technology used in electric vehicles, however, solves this problem by allowing the receiving and transmitting ends to resonate. Magnetic field resonance also brings two other benefits: first, it increases charging power; second, it enables one-to-many charging scenarios.
The development of wireless charging technology for electric vehicles is not driven by automakers. In fact, Halo, the current mature wireless charging technology, was brought to the market from campus labs by Qualcomm. In 2019, the U.S.-based WiTricity acquired Halo technology in an equity deal. According to WiTricity’s official website, the existing Halo technology can achieve a charging rate of 11kW/h, reaching the same level as wired slow charging. The charging distance is 10-25cm, which matches the ground clearance of almost all civilian electric vehicles. This wireless charging product is usually composed of 3 parts, namely:
Wall Box: Delivers energy from the grid to the charging pad.
Charging Pad: the charging pad, installed on the ground or vertical surface, is the transmitter, generating a high-frequency alternating magnetic field.
Receiver: the receiver, mounted on the surface of the tram or robot, which reconverts the magnetic energy into electrical energy.
Wiferion, the protagonist of this acquisition story, uses Halo technology. in July 2022, Wiferion announced that it had licensed Halo technology and was offering a wireless charging solution for industrial electric vehicles. By strategically placing transmitters on the moving line in the factory area, dynamic wireless charging can be achieved when a receiver-equipped industrial vehicle or robot approaches. wiferion says the replenishment solution can extend the uptime of industrial vehicles/robots by up to 32%, and says the system is already in use at nearly all of Europe’s top automotive plants. the system can be used in a variety of applications, including automotive, automotive, and industrial vehicles. the system can also be used in a wide range of applications, including automotive, automotive, and industrial vehicles.
2. B-side first
However, before wireless charging is really on the car, Wiferion already has energy supply products and programs, the best landing scene may be another important product of Tesla – Super Factory. As a boss who has always paid close attention to efficiency and profitability, Musk has always wanted to build higher-order automated production lines and replace basic workers with more controllable and cost-effective robots. The welding shop at Tesla’s Shanghai factory has an automation rate of more than 95%, allowing 500 industrial robots to work simultaneously.
If Wiferion’s technology is introduced, different types of industrial trolleys and robots can be on standby for longer periods of time. Longer-lasting robots may show greater advantages in terms of efficiency and cost than workers who need to work shifts. In addition to increasing efficiency for the production side, more importantly, further development and iteration of the existing wireless charging technology will also trigger a new round of commercial and technological change in the consumer side and the field of autonomous driving. In other words, Tesla can change more than just charging with this layout. Wireless charging pads could become as common as current electric stakes, and even enable dynamic wireless charging as mentioned above, perhaps bringing about the following changes:
Batteries become smaller and car prices drop
If wireless dynamic charging becomes a reality, the solution to mileage anxiety won’t be the only one to increase onboard battery capacity.
Low-cost electric vehicles equipped with smaller batteries will be able to be introduced to the market, whether for car manufacturers to expand the product SKU, or let the electric car for more consumers, is a big plus.
B Realize the real driverless
More importantly, the maturity of wireless charging technology will provide an important technical guarantee for the realization of completely driverless. After all, in the current wired charging scenario, even if matched with a high-level intelligent driving system, the charging step still needs to be operated manually and autonomously.
In addition, wireless charging technology also lays the technical foundation for the unmanned commercial operation of trams. in early 2023, WiTricity entered into a partnership with Chinese manufacturer Yutong Bus, launching a Xiaoyu 2.0 minibus equipped with inductive charging in Zhengzhou, with a range of up to 150 kilometers.
So, for Tesla, wireless charging is the basic technology support, whether it wants to realize the huge economic benefits that Musk said would be gained through autopilot in the future or to create a new business model by combining it  with the future smart cab Robotaxi.
3. Tesla is not the only player
Tesla is not alone in the battle for wireless charging, and friends at home and abroad are also actively laying out.
In the current consumer market, whether it is a national brand JiJi automobile, or the Hyundai Group’s Janisys, have launched models that can be equipped with wireless charging.
Zhiji L7 model, for example, on the official sales page, provides the option of an optional end-of-the-car intelligent wireless charging module, the price is 6000 yuan. Owners will also need to purchase a separate wireless charging post, for a total of 18,000 yuan for the entire set of hardware. Officials claim that the wireless charging power is 11kW/h, with charging efficiency of up to 95% of the same power wired charging while matching WLC high-precision parking technology to enhance the charging experience.
Of course, in the existing models under the wireless charging module, only a few car owners hold the first experience of the fresh choice. In order to make wireless charging more widely used in the domestic field, continuing to improve the charging speed is an important influence factor.
Volvo is a pioneer in exploring this route. Starting in 2022, Volvo will conduct a three-year long-term experiment in Sweden. Purely electric cars participating in the experiment will be charged via charging pads embedded in city streets.
Volvo claims to offer wireless charging of up to 40kWh, nearly four times the power of Halo technology, which will give the XC40 an additional 100 kilometers of range in just 30 minutes of charging. The technology was developed by Momentum Dynamics, a Pennsylvania company in which Volvo has invested. According to TopGear, Volvo wants the test vehicle to travel more than 100,000 kilometers per year to provide enough data for further development and enhancement of wireless fast charging.
On top of that, there’s the ultimate form of dynamic wireless charging, similar to what’s found in factories, which is also slated for on-road experimentation in a number of European countries.

Sweden plans to create a permanent wireless charging exclusive road (Charging Lane) in 2025 to realize the dynamic energy replenishment process from the road to the tram. That is the energy from the electromagnetic coil laid at the bottom of the road to the power battery of the electric car.
Prior to this, Sweden experimented with a rail contact wireless charging road scheme, they built a road about 2 kilometers long between Stockholm Airport to the airport logistics center. According to The Guardian, this rail-contact road cost about £1 million per kilometer to build. charging Lane can be seen as an iteration of the original plan, and predictably, the cost should also be significantly higher.
It’s not hard to see that wireless charging technology for electric vehicles has come out of the lab and is moving toward commercial use, driven by funding from car companies, industrial firms, and governments.
For Tesla, even if it does acquire Wiferion, the latter’s wireless charging technology may not be quickly put into existing models – as shown in the Investor Day PPT. But the important thing is that Tesla is ready to officially get in on the ground floor of this technology and the innovation opportunities it could bring.

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