Toyota has announced that it will begin actual verification testing of its new wireless battery-charging system for electric vehicles, one that charges the battery of a plug-in hybrid or a pure-electric car by having the car park on top of it. Toyota’s charging system uses magnetic-resonance technology. This method transmits electricity by using magnetic resonance that results from changes in magnetic field intensity between a coil positioned on the ground under the car and a receiving coil built into the underside of the vehicle.
This technology would eliminate the need for physically plugging in an electric car or a hybrid. It also has the potential to act as a universal charging station, reducing the need for multiple charging stations and plug standards.
Toyota is also testing a new parking-assist system that would help the driver to position the car in a parking spot for the wireless charging system to charge the car’s battery. In prototype form, this technology has been coupled with Toyota’s existing Intelligent Parking Assist system.
This isn’t a typical auto maker test in controlled research facility conditions. Three modified Priuses have been given to customers in Aichi Prefecture in Japan. For one year, customers will test ease of use, user satisfaction, misalignment rates and charging behavior. Following the successful completion of this test, Toyota hopes to introduce wireless charging in existing plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Wireless charging could be only a couple of years away, but infrastructure will need more time to catch up. Installing this kind of system in your home is one thing; it’ll be another for commercial property owners, such as convenience stores or office buildings, to offer these in their parking garages. The underlying technology is not that far-fetched; it has already been marketed with cellphones that use a miniature version of this technology.