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Siemens buys stake in EV charging firm WiTricity
- June 14, 2022
- Steve Rogerson
Siemens is investing $25m and acquiring a minority stake in US firm WiTricity, a wireless charging technology company.
Siemens and WiTricity plan to work together to drive innovation in the emerging market for wireless EV charging. Siemens expects this market to reach $2bn by 2028 in Europe and North America alone.
The two companies seek to bridge the gaps in the global standardisation of wireless charging for electric passenger and light duty commercial vehicles, to enable interoperability between vehicles and infrastructure, and support market penetration. In addition, both parties will collaborate to advance the technical development of wireless charging systems.
“Combining Siemens’ global footprint and EV charging portfolio with WiTricity’s innovative technology is the first step towards elevating our offering in the wireless charging space,” said Markus Mildner, CEO of Siemens eMobility. “This will speed up deployment of wireless charging technology, support standardisation, and advance public charging infrastructure with interoperability for drivers’ convenience.”
Siemens will also become a technology licence partner, benefitting from WiTricity’s know-how and decade-long collaboration with global automotive OEMs to develop proven, field-tested, interoperable wireless charging.
A charging pad mounted on or in the ground exchanges power with a receiving coil attached on the underside of the EV. There are no moving parts or physical connectors. Instead, a magnetic field transfers energy between the charging pad and the vehicle coil when the vehicle is over the charging pad. The system uses resonant induction between the charger and receiver to increase efficiency at various ground clearances, from low-slung sports cars to SUVs.
The goal of the collaboration is to accelerate the maturing of wireless charging technologies together with OEMs and infrastructure partners to ensure their cost-effective availability worldwide. A recent survey of more than 1000 current and future EV owners interested in purchasing an EV in the next two years indicated that wireless charging was one of the highest-rated add-ons and a more preferred option to other amenities, including park-assist, performance or premium audio packages.
“Wireless charging enables a driver to just park and walk away, returning to a charged vehicle,” said Alex Gruzen, CEO of Massachusetts-based WiTricity. “Wireless charging makes EVs more appealing for individual owners and more cost-effective for commercial operators. We are excited to partner with a leader like Siemens to help drive this new world. Siemens and WiTricity share the goal of improving EV ownership and fleet management with the matchless simplicity and reliability of wireless charging”.
For autonomous vehicles to fulfil their promise, key friction points will need to be removed, such as charging, which today still requires human intervention. Wireless power transfer could be a key technology to enable contactless automatic charging with least maintenance requirements and pave the way to an all-electric, fully autonomous mobility future.
WiTricity’s technology is backed by a patent portfolio and is the foundation for ratified global EV wireless charging standards including SAE, ISO and GB. Automakers and tier-one suppliers turn to WiTricity to help accelerate the adoption of EVs by eliminating the hassle of plug-in charging, setting the stage for future autonomy.
• After months of testing at the Arena del Futuro circuit, Stellantis, together with its project partners, this month demonstrated in Chiari, Italy, the capability of dynamic wireless power transfer (DWPT) technology to recharge electric vehicles wirelessly as they travel over specially equipped, dedicated road lanes.