Siemens, the global technology company focused on industry, infrastructure, transport and healthcare, has invested $25 million to acquire a minority stake in US-based WiTricity, the US wireless charging technology company. The two companies will work together to drive innovation in the emerging market for wireless electric vehicle (EV) charging.
This market is expected to reach $2 billion by 2028 in Europe and North America alone, according to Siemens’ calculations. The two companies seek to bridge the gaps in the global standardisation of wireless charging for electric passenger and light duty commercial vehicles.
This will enable interoperability between vehicles and infrastructure, as well as support market penetration. In addition, both parties will collaborate to advance the technical development of wireless charging systems.
This is a growth area in the charging space and one which will benefit from standardisation. For example, in the UK, Waitrose have been trialling wireless charging for its electric vans in London. The simple reason being it saves time on charging and helps zero-emissions cars and trucks remain on the road making them more cost-effective.
Markus Mildner, Siemens eMobility CEO, said: “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.
“This will speed up deployment of wireless charging technology, support standardisation, and advance public charging infrastructure with interoperable solutions for drivers’ convenience.”
Siemens will also become a technology license partner, benefitting from WiTricity’s deep know-how and decade-long collaboration with global automotive OEMs to develop proven, field-tested, interoperable wireless charging solutions.
Wireless charging uses a charging pad mounted on or in the ground that exchanges power with a receiving coil attached to the underside of the electric vehicle. 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 in order to provide high efficiency at a variety of ground clearances, from low-slung electric sports cars to electric sports utility vehicles (SUVs).
Cost-Effective Global Availability
The ultimate goal of the collaboration is to accelerate the maturing of wireless charging technologies. This will be carried out together with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and infrastructure partners to simultaneously ensure their cost-effective availability worldwide.
A recent survey of more than 1,000 current and future electric vehicle owners interested in purchasing an electric car in the next two years indicated that wireless charging was one of the highest-rated add-ons. It is also a preferred option to other amenities, including park-assist, performance or premium audio packages.
Alex Gruzen, WiTricity CEO, said: “Wireless charging enables a driver to just park and walk away, returning to a charged vehicle. 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 of compelling solutions. Siemens and WiTricity share the goal of improving EV ownership and fleet management with the matchless simplicity and reliability of wireless charging”.