Hyundai-Kia Working On Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles [News]

Kia Soul EV wireless charging
A fleet of Kia Soul EVs set up for wireless charging.

Hyundai is looking to pull the plug on electric vehicle (EV) charging.

Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI), a research and development group based in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Mojo Mobility have been awarded a federal grant to develop wireless charging stations for EVs.

The system will allow EVs to be charged while parked without the need for a physical plug. If the technology becomes more widespread, it could mean that EVs won’t need as many batteries and can be lighter. It could also make EVs more practical, as owners will no longer need to plug in their vehicles to charge them up.

The vehicle doesn’t need to be precisely parked over the charger, as the system allows for a margin of error and will still charge the vehicle. HATCI calls it “position-free charging.”

A diagram of the wireless charging system on a Kia Soul EV
A diagram of the wireless charging system on a Kia Soul EV.

HATCI and Mojo Mobility is developing the technology in three phases. The first two are already complete. In phase one, the two companies developed the wireless charger with 85 percent charger-to-vehicle efficiency that could send over 10 kW of power to the vehicle.

In phase two, the companies developed a compact system made especially for the Kia Soul EV that had 92 percent efficiency.

Phase three will test the system’s durability and will also focus on safety and performance. This phase will use a fleet of five Soul EVs to determine real-world performance.

The grant is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Vehicle Technologies (VT) program. Mojo Mobility is a specialist in wireless charging technology and makes wireless charging systems for phones, laptops, tablets and wearables.

HATCI and Mojo Mobility haven’t announced when the system will be available for sale.

Check out this TFLcar first drive review of the 2015 Kia Soul EV: