Marking an important step in the future of electric vehicles (EVs), the Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center Inc. (HATCI) and Mojo Mobility Inc. (Mojo) have completed a three-year project to develop a fast-charging wireless power transfer system on a test fleet of Kia Soul EVs.
The project, conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, paves the way for a future in which plugs are no longer necessary for EVs, the partners say.
HATCI and Mojo, a wireless technology company, worked together to develop a compact wireless charging system that is capable of transferring more than 10 kW to the vehicle for fast-charging while targeting an 85% grid-to-vehicle efficiency. The project installed the system on five Soul EVs and tested them in real-world applications for durability, safety and performance.
The system works by using an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two coils – a transmitter on the ground and a receiver on the bottom of the vehicle. The driver simply parks the car above the transmitter to begin charging, and energy is then sent through an inductive coupling to an electrical device, which uses that energy to charge the vehicle’s battery.
According to the partners, the system is so efficient that it allows for some misalignment between the transmitter and the receiver, making it easier and more convenient for an owner’s day-to-day use.
“We’re thrilled with the success of the system and its efficiency,” comments William Freels, HATCI’s president. “We set out to develop wireless charging that has real-world applications and is easy to use for the consumer. Now, with this fleet of wireless Soul EVs, we can clearly see a future of unplugged electric vehicles.”
The partners say there is no current plan to offer the wireless charging system on production vehicles for sale to consumers; however, the success of this development project suggests similar systems are possible on future Kia EVs.