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Israel-based company Electreon conducted an extensive test with dynamic wireless charging on a Toyota RAV4 Prime, and now they are partnering with Toyota and its top-tier supplier Denso to develop a dynamic wireless charging system for Toyota’s electric vehicles.
This strategic agreement could result in the creation of an aftermarket wireless charging kit for current electrified Toyota models, integration of the technology into new vehicles, and a joint pilot project in Japan, the U.S., or the EU. This announcement comes shortly after Tesla’s tease of future wireless charging in their vehicles.
Dynamic Wireless Charging Tech
In 2020, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) introduced the first global standards for wireless EV charging, which can provide up to 11 kW charging. Electreon was involved in the development of these standards.
According to the joint release, Toyota believes that dynamic wireless charging technology could help address issues related to electric vehicles. During a recent technology evaluation, a demonstration was performed where a RAV4 Prime was charged on a wireless road. The companies explained that this technology could potentially reduce the required battery size in EVs, extend their driving range, and decrease the load on the grid while making it easier to integrate renewable energy sources. Electreon released a white paper last year that discussed these benefits in more detail.
The primary provider of factory wireless charging technology, WiTricity, is currently focused on static wireless charging, which requires the vehicle to be stationary. In contrast, Electreon aims to offer solutions that work dynamically while the vehicle is moving, as well as when it is parked.
Toyota has expressed interest in this type of charging technology for over a decade and became a stakeholder in WiTricity in 2011. However, dynamic charging projects are currently limited in scope, which could result in higher integration costs for EVs. These projects require magnets to be placed in the roadway surface and power sources that are significantly larger than those needed for roadway lighting.
The technology is most suitable for projects involving vehicles that follow a repetitive route, such as airport access roads, terminal loops, or central car-hailing zones. Tests have been conducted on short-loop bus services in Tel Aviv, a truck-focused in-road charging project in Sweden, and a project to electrify a portion of the German Autobahn.
However, static wireless charging could also help promote EV adoption by providing added convenience. WiTricity-commissioned studies indicate that the technology could boost EV sales, and potential EV buyers are more interested in having wireless charging as an option than in self-driving capabilities.
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