|Industry||Electric Vehicle Wireless Charging|
|Headquarters||57 Water Street, |
|Alex Gruzen, CEO, Don Peck, CFO, Morris Kesler, CTO,|
|Products||Magnetic Resonance Wireless Charging Technology|
Number of employees
WiTricity, an MIT spinout founded in 2007, develops solutions to enable wireless power transfer over distance using its patented magnetic resonance technology, focusing on wireless charging systems for electric vehicles (EVs). WiTricity works with top global carmakers and Tier 1 suppliers to deploy wireless power solutions, helping realize a future of transportation that is electrified, shared and autonomous.
WiTricity’s patented magnetic resonance technology and power transfer is as efficient and fast as conventional plug-in charging, as plug-in is from 88 to 94 percent efficient and WiTricity's wireless system runs at 90 to 93 percent. It can power through materials – ranging from asphalt and cement to snow and ice – and allows for any vehicle, regardless of make or model, to be charged wirelessly.
WiTricity technology licensing agreements have been announced with Toyota, Aptiv (formerly Delphi), Mahle, TDK, IHI Corporation, Shindengen, Daihen, BRUSA, and Anjie Wireless. Global corporate investors now include Toyota, Intel Capital, Delta Electronics Capital, Foxconn, Haier, and Schlumberger.
WiTricity is also collaborating directly with leading carmakers to drive global standards for wireless charging systems, which is being built using WiTricity’s intellectual property. These wireless charging standards are not only crucial for automakers, but also for utility companies and city planning organizations in developing new infrastructure that can support future mobility technologies. Standards initiatives include the SAE International, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), STILLE, China Automotive Technology & Research Center (CATARC), China Electricity Council and the Chinese Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI).
The term WiTricity was used for a project that took place at MIT, led by Marin Soljačić in 2006. The MIT researchers successfully demonstrated the ability to power a 60 watt light bulb wirelessly, using two 5-turn copper coils of 60 cm (24 in) diameter, that were 2 m (7 ft) away, at roughly 45% efficiency. The coils were designed to resonate together at 9.9 MHz (wavelength ≈ 30 m) and were oriented along the same axis. One was connected inductively to a power source, and the other one to a bulb. The setup powered the bulb on, even when the direct line of sight was blocked using a wooden panel. Researchers were able to power a 60 watt light bulb at roughly 90% efficiency at a distance of 3 feet. The research project was spun off into a private company, also called WiTricity.
The emerging technology was demonstrated in July 2009 by CEO Eric Giler at the TED Global Conference held in Oxford. There he refers to the original idea, first applied by the physicist Nikola Tesla between his coils, and shows a WiTricity power unit powering a television as well as three different cell phones, the initial problem that inspired Soljacic to get involved with the project.
CEO Alex Gruzen was hired in 2014, and decided to take WiTricity out of the competition for powering consumer electronics, and focus on wireless power for electric vehicles. The company nonetheless demonstrated wireless power for a Dell laptop at the January, 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, which became commercially available in 2017. The company has reportedly collaborated with car makers Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Jaguar, Nissan, and Toyota. In 2017, having raised $68 million to date, the company reduced its workforce from 80 to 55 and closed an office in Austin, Texas, all in an effort to better reposition WiTricity to address the market opportunity around electric vehicles and directly contend with its biggest EV competitor, Qualcomm Halo.
After years of R&D, patent design and licensing with global automakers, 2018 saw the first EV with WiTricity’s technology hit the streets – the BMW 530e iPerformance sedan, equipped with the first-ever wireless charging system. Building on this, WiTricity was named a 2018 New Energy Pioneer by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and signed several new licensing deals including MAHLE in Germany and Anjie Wireless in China.
In 2019, Honda partnered with WiTricity to demonstrate their wireless vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging model at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, leveraging WiTricity’s DRIVE 11 wireless charging system.
In February 2019, announced the acquisition from Qualcomm Incorporated and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. of certain technology platform and IP assets, which will bring over 1,500 patents and patent applications related to wireless charging that WiTricity will own or control. Prior to the acquisition, Qualcomm Incorporated and WiTricity had been working collaboratively with global standards organizations, which currently leverage reference designs from each company. This acquisition will simplify ratification of the standard and help ensure interoperability across automakers. EV drivers will be able to use any standards-compatible wireless charging pad to power their vehicles.
- Evanescent wave coupling
- List of emerging technologies
- Nikola Tesla
- Qi (inductive power standard) -another standard for wireless energy transfers
- Resonant energy transfer
- WREL technology
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- Electrical recharging using electrosmog
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Published online: June 2007
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