Marking an important step in the future of electric vehicles, the Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI) and Mojo Mobility, Inc. 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, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, paves the way for the future of electric vehicles in which plugs are no longer necessary.
HATCI and Mojo, a wireless technology company, worked together to develop a compact wireless charging system that is capable of transferring more than 10kW to the vehicle for fast charging while targeting an 85 percent 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 then energy is sent through an inductive coupling to an electrical device, which uses that energy to charge the electric vehicles’ battery.
The system is so efficient it will allow some misalignment between the transmitter and the receiver, making it easier and more convenient for owner’s day-to-day use. The system can wirelessly charge cars with up to 85 percent efficiency, even when misaligned.
“We’re thrilled with the success of the system and its efficiency,” said William Freels, HATCI 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.”
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 electric vehicles.