Qualcomm Plans Wireless EV Charging Trial in London

San Diego’s Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) says it’s rolling out the first wireless electric vehicle charging trials next year in London—just two days after the mobile giant said it acquired HaloIPT, a London startup developing the wireless charging technology.

In a statement today, Qualcomm says it is collaborating with the UK government, as well as the Mayor of London’s office and Transport for London to deliver the trial.

As many as 50 specially modified electric vehicles (EVs) will take part in the trial, including electric taxis, according to a news report from London.

In the United States, San Francisco-based Ecotality has been installing 15,000 charging in 16 cities throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Tennessee, Texas, and the District of Columbia. But these are plug-in charging stations.

The Qualcomm trial in London, however, uses technology that charges an EV without plugging in any power cords. Inductive power transfer is a wireless technology that transmits energy from an electromagnet in a plate on the ground to a receiver in the EV. The British program calls for installing wireless inductive power transfer plates throughout London’s Tech City.

The process is a breeze for motorists. The driver simply parks the EV over the plate, and the system automatically aligns itself to transfer power across the gap, from the ground to the EV. In the statement from Qualcomm, Prime Minister David Cameron says, “Creative, high-tech advances such as this are extremely important as we work to rebalance our economy, and the decision to trial this at Tech City shows confidence in the UK as an ideal place for innovation and investment.”

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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