Automotive

Published on May 4th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Volkswagen Wireless Charging Coming

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Currently all of Volkswagen Group’s battery-electric and plug-in hybrid cars require a physical corded connection in order to recharge their batteries, although wireless charging is preferable for a number of reasons, chiefly convenience. The technology, however, is still relatively immature.

While Volkswagen says that is has wireless – or inductive – charging stations in a state of ‘pre-development’, it means that the technology will not be offered for the new e-Golf hatchback.

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The decision to hold back stems from a concern that the drawbacks highlighted by a lack of standardisation for corded charging could similarly hinder wireless charging – currently not every type of electric car can charge up at a given electric charging station. When applied to inductive charging this could become hugely expensive for two-EV households and inconvenient for anybody using a public station.

Customer demand will further dictate when and to what extent Volkswagen offers wireless charging – as a cost option it is unlikely to be cheap. The strategies of rival automakers will affect Volkswagen’s timeframe, too, and Toyota has already begun testing the technology with Prius Plug-in Hybrid prototypes.

Volkswagen says that it’s too early to talk about price, although Plugless, an American third-party company specialising in the technology, currently offers wireless charging kits for the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt for around USD3,000.

Company executives have said, however, that the technology will remain relatively expensive for the foreseeable future and as such a luxury option. Volkswagen will most likely use Bosch, who also supply equipment to Plugless, as a supplier for wireless charging kits. So far no manufacturer offers inductive charging as a factory option.


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