WiTricity, Delphi Partner on Developing Wireless Charging Station for Electric Vehicles

9/29/10Follow @xconomy

WiTricity, the Watertown, MA-based developer of technology for the wireless delivery of electricity, has signed an agreement with Delphi Automotive of Troy, MI, to work on wireless charging products for hybrid and electric vehicles, Delphi announced today.

WiTricity will supply its wireless electricity technology and components to Delphi, a maker of electronics technologies for vehicles. Delphi, in turn, will develop and market a charging system for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) serving the automotive space, WiTricity’s director of business development and marketing, David Schatz, told me on a phone call. He did not reveal the financial details surrounding the agreement. But it is the first automotive customer for WiTricity, which demonstrated its technology for charging electric vehicles and consumer electronics in a keynote session at last June’s Xconomy Summit on Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship conference.

The charging system developed through the partnership would enable cars powered with electricity to reboot without having to plug into a power source via a cord. It would only require cars to park over a wireless energy source on the floor of a garage or embedded in a paved parking spot, which would then transfer the power to the vehicle’s battery charger. WiTricity’s technology currently has the capacity to transfer 3,300 watts of power via its systems, which is enough to fully charge an electric vehicle, according to the Delphi announcement. The wireless charging systems could be rolled out in the next generation of plug-in vehicles in the next few years, Schatz said.

Charging electric vehicles is an area to which WiTricity has been looking to apply its technology beyond its primary market of consumer electronics, as Bob wrote in a story about the company last year. The startup, founded by MIT physics professor Marin Soljačić in 2007, has designed a transmission coil that connects to a small electronics module and converts the traditional electrical current found in a home or office to a higher frequency and voltage, to create an oscillating magnetic field around the coil. If a separate coil designed to resonate to the same frequency is close enough to the source, power is transferred between the two coils.

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