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Wireless electric car charging coming to London

Kiss goodbye to your cables, people -- mobile phone giant Qualcomm is set to bring wireless electric car charging to London by early 2012.

Kiss goodbye to your cables, people -- wireless electric car charging is set to become a reality in London.

Mobile giant Qualcomm has teamed up with team Boris and Transport for London to roll out the first wireless electric vehicle charging trials in L-Town by early 2012.

Chargemaster, Europe's leading operator of electric car charging infrastructure (there's not much competition), has been tasked with installing the gubbins. Fifty specially modified electric vehicles -- including electric taxis provided by Addison Lee -- will take part in the trial.

The wireless charging network will allow electric car owners to do away with cumbersome cables and top up their cars by parking over Qualcomm's wireless inductive power transfer plates, which are set to be installed in Tech City, near Canary Wharf -- our answer to Silicon Valley.

Qualcomm, best known for mobile phone chips, acquired its wireless electric charging tech following its acquisition of experts HaloIPT. The technology, based on inductive power transfer, generates an electrical current that produces a magnetic field, which in turn charges a device.

Historically, this sort of tech has been used to charge electric toothbrushes, but it's been scaled up to to provide the levels of juice required to recharge electric cars. The charging can be done while stationary, with the car parked over a charging pad, or in theory while on the move -- Scalextric-style.

HaloIPT's wireless gubbins can also leech power from an electric car's battery, putting it back into the national grid. This creates the possibility of drivers earning cash for supplying spare juice to the rest of us, though given the limited range of today's electric cars, we can't see this feature being used too often.

More useful in the short term, perhaps, is the wireless charging system's ability to work as a data network, funnelling marketing information and special promotions (cheap charging rates for regular customers, perhaps?) to individual cars.

Head over to Qualcomm website for more information or watch the video below to see it in action.