Siemens has invested $25 million and acquired a minority stake in US wireless charging technology company WiTricity. The companies will primarily work together to drive adoption of global standards for wireless charging of electric passenger and light duty commercial vehicles, to enable interoperability between vehicles and infrastructure. In addition, both parties will collaborate to advance the technical development of wireless charging systems.
Siemens maintains that for autonomous vehicles to fulfill their promise key friction points such as charging will need to be removed. “Wireless power transfer will be the key technology to enable contactless automatic charging with least maintenance requirements and pave the way to an all-electric, fully autonomous mobility future,” it says.
The ultimate goal of the collaboration is to accelerate the development of wireless charging and together with OEMs and infrastructure partners ensure their cost-effective availability worldwide.
Markus Mildner, CEO of Siemens eMobility 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.”
Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity added, “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 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.
A recent survey of more than 1,000 current and future EV owners interested in purchasing an EV in the next two years indicated that wireless charging was one of the highest-rated add-ons and a more preferred option to other amenities, including park-assist, performance, or premium audio packages.