Delphi Wants to Unplug the Plug-In

In its giddy new WattStation television commercial, backed by the peppy sounds of the Brit indie pop duo The Boy Least Likely To, GE portrays plugging in an electric vehicle as integral to a happy, carefree life of fun and frolic with friends. Delphi Automotive? They got no use for plugging in.

The company recently announced a deal with wireless energy-transfer provider WiTricity to develop automatic wireless charging products for hybrid and electric vehicles. The two said their collaboration “could enable automotive manufacturers to integrate wireless charging directly into the design of their hybrid and electric vehicles.”

image via Delphi Automotive

Rejecting bothersome electric-vehicle adjuncts like plugs and charging cords, WiTricity’s Eric Giler said, “Charging an electric car should be as easy as parking it in your garage or parking spot.” The idea is that a wireless energy source would lie on your garage floor, or be embedded in public places, and you’d just drive up, park it and charge it. No fuss, no muss.

The companies didn’t outline when their wireless car charger might be ready for market, but WiTricity said it has already developed a system that can transfer more than 3,300 watts — enough, it said, to charge an electric car just as quickly as most residential plug-in chargers.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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