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HELLA and Vahle developing wireless charging systems for plug-in vehicles

23 April 2014

HELLA is working with Paul Vahle GmbH to develop wireless (inductive) charging systems for plug-in vehicles.

The cooperation between Vahle and HELLA combines the expertise and experience of both companies in the field inductive charging. Based in Kamen, Germany, Vahle has 15 years of experience in contact-free energy transfer in industrial environments, while HELLA is a recognized leader in the development of electronics, software, processes and production in the auto industry.

Wireless, inductive charging is a far more convenient way to recharge a vehicle's battery system. The driver only needs to stop or drive over a charging unit or network to activate the process. As wireless charging has become more available and easy to use, it also might allow automakers to reduce battery size and weight on electric and hybrid electric vehicles.

—Dr. Marc Rosenmayr, CEO for HELLA Electronics in North and South America

Rosenmayr notes that a number of technological and infrastructure challenges still must be overcome before wireless charging for cars and light trucks can be successfully introduced. Energy transfer over high-frequency fields that are at the heart of inductive systems, for example, cause heat to build up in metal objects which could lead to safety issues. The impact that wireless charging might have on other vehicle electronic systems such as navigation, infotainment, driver-assistance and keyless entry systems also will need to be studied.

An SAE Taskforce is developing standards for wireless charging and positioning of electric vehicles (SAE J2954). (Earlier post.) In November 2013, the SAE International J2954 Task Force for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) of Light Duty, Electric and Plug-in Electric Vehicles agreed upon two key factors for the Technical Information Report (TIR) on interoperability for the first phase of pre-commercial development: a common frequency of operation (85 kHz) and the definition of three power classes for light duty vehicles: WPT 1, 2 and 3. (Earlier post.)

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