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2017 Mercedes-Benz S550e PHEV will offer wireless charging system built using Qualcomm Halo inventions

With the facelift of the Mercedes-Benz S550e plug-in hybrid in 2017, Daimler AG plans to launch a wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) system, manufactured by a Tier 1 power electronics supplier, which has licensed Qualcomm Halo inventions. The commercial application of WEVC will be a first among hybrid vehicles. Drivers of the S550e (badged S500 in Europe) equipped with the wireless charging option will simply park atop a special pad and charging will begin.

Qualcomm Halo uses high-power, resonant magnetic inductive wireless energy transfer and supports a relatively wide air gap between base charging unit (BCU) and vehicle charging unit (VCU). The charging pad’s multi-coil design (“Double “D” Quadrature”) delivers high energy-transfer efficiency and high power even if the pads are misaligned. The high degree of tolerance in both the vertical (z) and lateral (x,y) planes means drivers do not have to park accurately or need complex and expensive on-board alignment systems.

The base pad may be mounted on a garage or road surface or buried below the ground. The technology is efficient and is designed to allow easy alignment when parking.

Energy is transferred efficiently—Qualcomm Halo is comparable to conductive charging’s 90% efficiency rating, but Qualcomm Halo’s efficiency improves as the level of wireless charging power is turned up.

Qualcomm Halo WEVC was rigorously tested and refined in the Formula E racing series by the official FIA Formula E Qualcomm Safety Car (a BMW i8). (Earlier post.) The lessons Qualcomm learned on racetracks around the world have led up to the consumer debut of the technology.

Qualcomm, through its subsidiary Qualcomm Technologies (QTI), already works closely with the Mercedes factory Formula One team, Mercedes AMG Petronas. QTI’s work with the team has resulted in speed, efficiency, and safety improvements using racecar data sharing over Wi-Fi.

In 2015, Qualcomm and Daimler issued a joint statement outlining the overall WEVC focus, which includes developing quicker, more powerful charging for pure EVs. (Earlier post.)

The companies, along with other OEMs, are working together to ensure that WEVC technology is included in SAE International’s automotive standards, for short- and long-term benefits.

While the 3.6 kW WEVC system is adequate to charge a plug-in-hybrid battery, Qualcomm noted, a pure EV with a 30-40 kWh battery needs double or even triple the charging power to fill up in a reasonable amount of time.

License to Lear. In July, Qualcomm and Lear Corporation entered into a Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) license agreement. Lear will be including Qualcomm Halo WEVC technology in its product portfolio to commercialize WEVC systems for Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) and Electric Vehicles (EV) manufacturers, as well as wireless charging infrastructure companies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Qualcomm granted Lear a royalty-bearing license to develop, make and supply WEVC systems based on Qualcomm Halo technology. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. will provide technical expertise and engineering support.

Qualcomm and Lear are collaborating on multiple WEVC production programs across multiple car companies.

Lear is a leading, global, tier-one supplier of high power charging systems and related electronic components to the automotive industry. It is ideally positioned to develop a broad portfolio of WEVC systems, including multi-coil, solenoid and circular systems that meet customer requirements. We are excited to be working closely with Lear as they commercialize Qualcomm Halo technology to bring WEVC charging into production.

—Steve Pazol, vice president and general manager, Wireless Charging, Qualcomm Incorporated

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