Wireless Charging Gets a Boost in New WiTricity Licensing Deal

When MIT wireless-power spinout WiTricity appointed a new CEO last year, the company sent a pretty clear signal about its hopes for the future.

New boss Alex Gruzen, a veteran of the PC world, brought years of experience integrating new technologies into consumer electronics. A few months after coming onboard, and after arranging a big licensing agreement with investor Intel, Gruzen told us the startup was entering a phase of “aggressive commercialization.”

Today, there’s some more evidence of that plan in motion. CTEK, a Swedish maker of battery and charging products for vehicles, is licensing WiTricity’s technology for use in “a wide range of automotive, industrial, and recreational vehicle battery systems,” CTEK CEO Jon Lind said in a news release.

WiTricity’s technology can send electricity through the air to a nearby device without using cords or physical contact to connect the two endpoints.

Gruzen

Gruzen

The process starts with a special coil, which converts garden-variety AC electricity to a higher frequency and voltage and creates a type of magnetic field. A second coil, embedded in the device that’s being charged, can convert the energy in that magnetic field back into standard electricity.

It’s a wild-sounding advancement for anyone who has ever tripped over a bunch of knotted power cords. So why isn’t it widely available? Part of the holdup has to do with a battle over technical standards, which has splintered different interests in the industry.

Vehicle battery charging is familiar territory for WiTricity, which already had an investment from Toyota along with an agreement to supply wireless-charging technology for the car-maker’s electric vehicles.

WiTricity and CTEK didn’t disclose the terms of their agreement, but this appears to be a pure business deal, as there wasn’t any mention of an investment.

If we see more licensing deals like this, it might be a sign that Gruzen was on point last year, when he said 2015 would show “real progress” in getting wireless charging into the market. The drawer full of power cords and adapters in my house sure hopes he’s right.

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  • Jack Hulse

    When will this company go public?

    • YeahRight

      As long as there is still dumb money out there or never.

  • YeahRight

    Wireless charging is a trivial technology. Take a couple of good power systems engineers and you can build your own wireless charging system in six months. Anybody who thinks that there is growth potential here doesn’t know the first thing about EE.

    • Suzette

      I enjoy your skepticism but what’s your background?

      • YeahRight

        PhD in physics. I built the basic circuit when I was 14, or so. Welcome to the world of those who have first hand experience. :-)

        • Liar Liar

          You sir are a joke. If you knew what you were talking about then you would know it takes more than just a power amplifier to make wireless power. If any one or two power engineer can do this, then why did all of these companies invest millions, especially if hiring any to power engineers would have done the same thing? Your logic frightens me.

          • YeahRight

            You are putting a lot of effort into raging against reality, especially since you are clueless about electrical engineering. :-)

        • Awesome!

          Awesome! Built the circuit at 14! Are you a billionaire?! Did you change the World? Did your disruptive, innovative ideas and your PhD in Physics craft the way technology works nowadays?

          • YeahRight

            So you don’t know anything about the subject? Hmmm… OK, I will ask Mom if I can feed you. :-)

  • YeahRight is Lame

    YeahRight clearly doesn’t understand how to make something wirelessly powered, over distance and without power greater than 1W. Stop pretending and go back to school. Don’t act like you an EE just because you turned on an LED to a battery. Moron!

    • Everyone just sit down

      Learn how to form a proper sentence. While I agree that YeahRight clearly doesn’t understand a single thing he is talking about, your ability to craft a complete sentence makes me believe that you too are under-educated. My advice to both of you is to just stop talking.

      YeahRight – My brother is a doctor so I can perform your knee replacement operation if you’d like.

      Yeahright is Lame – Your name is lame.

      • YeahRight

        Thanks, I get my knee replacements from physicians I know. On the other, I can help you with resonant energy transfer… I’ve been doing that kind of thing for decades. It was part of my job description when I used to work as EE. :-)

  • YeahRight

    What’s with the hate by people who are clueless about EE? Aren’t we a bit jealous today? :-)

  • YeahRight

    So why is it called “wireless power”? Because “loosely coupled resonant wide air gap transformer” is a really hard sell. :-)