Auto Tech

Continental wants to put wireless EV chargers everywhere

A little bit of juice over a large number of charging sessions could keep your battery topped off for when you need it most.

Continental

Nobody likes a missed opportunity, and when it comes to electric cars, Continental's wireless charging solution could eradicate EV-based FOMO as it currently stands.

Right now, most people think of EV charging as a daily event that takes an hour or more. You go out all day, and then you come home and plug in at night. But Continental believes its wireless charging system could split that event up into a series of microcharges wherever the vehicle goes.

No, it's not actually going to glow while charging. If it does... you might want to call somebody.

Continental

Continental's approach relies on inductive charging. A electromagnetic coil built into an EV responds to a coil built into the ground somewhere, which is hooked up to a supply of electricity. The fields from the two coils allow current to flow wirelessly to the battery. The only trouble is, induction is lossy when compared with standard plug charging.

Continental wants to make up for that by offering wireless charging in a whole bunch of places. If there's an inductive charger at every stop you make in a day, you may not need to charge overnight, because you were slowly topping the battery off throughout the day.

Or, at the least, the charging required at night would be substantially lower. With a charging rate of 11 kilowatts, Continental's wireless charging solution system adds about 1 kilometer of range to a battery for every minute spent parked. So, in an hour, you'd get about 37 miles of range. Additional in-car tech would help the driver position the EV precisely over the charging pad, which is necessary no matter what company builds the charger.

While Continental's system could provide a great benefit for EV owners without requiring them to jump through hoops, for now, wireless charging remains a novelty. Suppliers are working on solutions, but the aftermarket already offers wireless charging for a number of models, including the Tesla Model S. BMW is working on its own system, as well, but its charging rate is a bit more than one-half that of Continental's.