The Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center Inc. (HATCI) and Mojo Mobility have completed a three-year project to develop a fast-charging wireless power transfer system on a test fleet of Kia Soul EVs.
The project, which was undertaken in partnership with the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, saw the development of a compact, wireless charging system capable of transferring more than 10kW to the vehicle during fast charging, and had a targeted grid-to-vehicle efficiency of 85%. The system was installed on five Soul EVs and then tested in real-world situations.
The system uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two coils – a transmitter on the ground and a receiver located on the bottom of the vehicle. When the Soul EV is parked above the transmitter, the power transfer begins and energy is transmitted through an inductive coupling to an electric device which charges the vehicle battery. The system was designed to function even if the two coils are not perfectly aligned.
“We’re thrilled with the success of the system and its efficiency,” said William Freels, HATCI president. “We set out to develop wireless charging that has real-world applications and is easy to use for the consumer. Now, with this fleet of wireless Soul EVs, we can clearly see a future of unplugged electric vehicles.”
Though the OEM doesn’t currently have plans to offer the technology on production Kia vehicles, the promise shown by the project bodes well for the deployment of similar systems on future vehicle platforms.