Wireless charging for electric cars 'ready'
Wireless charging of electric cars will be a reality by the end of 2012, with trials of 50 cars starting later this year.
The wireless technology will make it possible to charge electric cars without using a power socket or charging cable. It works via a method referred to as inductive charging, which requires a charging plate to be buried in a spot on the ground where the EV can park. The plate itself is a coil that generates an electromagnetic field.
When the EV is parked underneath the charging plate, an inductive coil underneath the car can transfer energy to the battery and recharge it.
The purpose of the trial is to assess the UK's capital in terms of logistics and optimum locations - and will be undertaken by EV charging solution provider Chargemaster, wireless technology developers Qualcomm and a local taxi firm.
While the technology is said to be ready, Qualcomm explains that it would be difficult to retrofit to existing electric cars - requiring major manufacturers to build cars with the technology in place if the wireless charging is to take off.
Charging electric cars on crowded, terraced streets presents a major headache for motorists who buy electric cars at present, meaning the new wireless technology could revolutionise the use of electric vehicles, if adopted widely enough.
At the moment only one major manufacturer, Volvo, has tested out the wireless technology on EVs.
Last year the Swedish automaker revealed it was running a Volvo C30 Electric as part of a development project for inductive charging.
Meanwhile rumours suggest that the next-generation Nissan Leaf will also feature wireless charging capabilities.
General Motors, Toyota and Ford had expressed an interest in wireless-charging EVs in 2010, but it is currently unknown whether any of these companies will reveal such a car anytime soon.
No exact start or end date has been set for this trial, and neither Chargemaster nor Qualcomm could predict when wireless charging points will enter the UK market.