WiTricity

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WiTricity
IndustryWireless power transfer
Founded2007; 14 years ago (2007)
FounderMarin Soljačić
Headquarters,
United States
Key people
  • Alex Gruzen (CEO)
  • Morris Kesler (CTO)
Websitewitricity.com

WiTricity is an American wireless charging technology company based in Watertown, Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spin-off was founded by professor Marin Soljačić in 2007. WiTricity technology allows wireless power transfer over distance via magnetic resonance and the company licenses technology and reference designs for wireless electrical vehicle (EV) charging as well as consumer products such as laptops, mobile phones and televisions.

History[edit]

The company was established by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Marin Soljačić in 2007.[1][2] The MIT spin-off is based in Watertown, Massachusetts.[3] In 2014,[4] WiTricity joined the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), which later merged with the Power Matters Alliance to form the AirFuel Alliance.[3] Alex Gruzen replaced Eric Giler as chief executive officer (CEO) in 2014.[5][6] Morris Kesler serves as chief technology officer (CTO).[7][8]

In 2017, WiTricity began focusing on charging systems for electric vehicles more than consumer technology products.[2] By 2018, WiTricity had partnered with more than a dozen automotive companies, including nine of the world's largest ten, on research and development projects.[9] Audi, Mahle GmbH, and Mitsubishi were among the partnering companies.[6][10]

In 2018, WiTricity was named a New Energy Pioneer by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.[11][12] The company acquired the assets and intellectual property rights of Qualcomm Halo and its inductive charging technology in February 2019; the deal included more than 1,000 patents and patent applications,[13] as well as technology designs and licenses, and made Qualcomm a minority owner of WiTricity.[6][14] In late 2020, MIT and WiTricity filed an infringement lawsuit against the Pennsylvania-based company Momentum Dynamics over seven wireless energy transfer patents.[15]

Funding[edit]

Prior to Toyota's investment in 2011, WiTricity had raised approximately $15 million.[16] By April 2013, WiTricity had received approximately $45 million in funding.[1] After additional funding rounds in 2015 and 2018, the company had raised $68 million.[2] WiTricity had raised approximately $88 million in venture capital by early 2019.[13] Funders have included Delta Electronics, Foxconn, Haier, Intel, Schlumberger, and Toyota.[13][17]

In 2020, WiTricity completed a $34 million round led by Stage 1 Ventures with additional participation by Air Waves Wireless Electricity and Mitsubishi subsidiary Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas).[18] The round was extended for an additional $18 million raised in January 2021; Tony Fadell was among the private investors and joined WiTricity's advisory board.[19][20]

Technology[edit]

WiTricity's technology allows wireless power transfer over distance via magnetic resonance.[1] Alternating current (AC) electricity runs through an electromagnetic coil within a charging station to form an oscillating electromagnetic field.[21] Another coil resonating at the same frequency captures the field's energy and a rectifier delivers direct current (DC) current to a battery management system.[3] The technology works through various materials, such as stone, cement, asphalt or wood, and has an energy conversion efficiency end-to-end above 90 percent, equivalent to plugging in. By 2013–2014, electric power output had reached 10W for mobile devices, 6kW for passenger vehicles, and 25kW for fleets and buses.[5][22] WiTricity's EV charging solutions currently have charging rates from 3.6 to 11 kW, and the technology scales up to hundreds of kilowatts for heavy duty vehicles such as buses.[23]

The company has more than 1,500 patents related to wireless charging, as of 2019.[6]

Uses[edit]

WiTricity has reached licensing deals with Anjie Wireless,[24] Delphi (Aptiv), Intel,[5][25] Mahle, TDK, Toyota,[3][13] and Zhejiang VIE.[23] Thoratec licensed the technology to produce heart pumps capable of charging automatically.[4] WiTricity has demonstrated wireless charging for consumer products such as laptops, mobile phones, televisions,[26] and solar panel receivers.[27] The company has also shown how the technology can be used to power soldiers' helmets with night-vision goggles wirelessly during Humvee transportation.[28] Dell's 2017 launch of the laptop-tablet Latitude 7285 marked the first commercial consumer product to use the technology.[3]

In 2018, BMW's 530e iPerformance became the first vehicle factory equipped with wireless charging,[14] and Hyundai's Kona also demonstrated use of the technology.[9] In January 2019, Honda and WiTricity demonstrated wireless vehicle-to-grid charging at the Consumer Electronics Show.[14] The technology was also being used for the McLaren Speedtail Hyper-GT by 2020.[18][29] In May 2020, China published their national standard for EV wireless charging which incorporated WiTricity's technology,[30][31] and WiTricity played a key role in establishing SAE International's J2954 standard for wireless power transfer.[29][32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Markowitz, Eric (April 18, 2013). "All of the Electric Power with None of the Wires: If WiTricity succeeds in developing its technology, the future of electricity could be bright--and wireless". Inc. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Sullivan, Mark (February 27, 2018). "The Little Company That's Bringing Wireless Charging To Electric Cars". Fast Company. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e Engel, Jeff Bauter (July 11, 2017). "Dell Wirelessly Charging PC Marks WiTricity's First Consumer Device". Xconomy. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Frizell, Sam (June 4, 2014). "So Long, Charging Cables: Wireless Power Is Coming". Time. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Lai, R. (June 11, 2014). "Intel's cable-free future will use WiTricity's advanced wireless charging". Engadget. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d Hanley, Steve (February 17, 2019). "A Conversation With WiTricity CEO Alex Gruzen — #CleanTechnica Exclusive". CleanTechnica. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  7. ^ "A Future of Gadgets without Power Cords? Not So Fast". NPR. July 21, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2021 – via WBUR-FM.
  8. ^ Mearian, Lucas (March 28, 2018). "Wireless charging explained: What is it and how does it work?". Computerworld. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Woyke, Elizabeth (September 18, 2018). "Future robo-taxis could charge themselves and help balance the electric grid". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  10. ^ Motavalli, Jim (July 25, 2012). "WiTricity Takes Its Car-Charging Technology Out for a Road Test". The New York Times. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  11. ^ Delony, Jennifer (April 12, 2018). "Wireless Charging Seen as a Game Changer for EV Infrastructure". Renewable Energy World. PennWell. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  12. ^ "Ten Winners of The New Energy Pioneers Unveiled at Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit in New York City". Bloomberg New Energy Finance. April 9, 2018. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  13. ^ a b c d Freeman, Mike (February 12, 2019). "WiTricity acquires assets of Qualcomm wireless electric vehicle charging group". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c Szatkowski, Danielle (February 11, 2019). "WiTricity acquires Qualcomm's EV charging unit". Automotive News. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  15. ^ Maffei, Lucia (December 10, 2020). "MIT, WiTricity file patent suit against Pa. tech company". Boston Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  16. ^ Kirsner, Scott (April 27, 2011). "Toyota makes multi-million-dollar investment in WiTricity Corp., developer of wireless car-charging technology". Boston.com. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  17. ^ Sawers, Paul (February 11, 2019). "WiTricity acquires Qualcomm Halo to accelerate wireless charging for electric vehicles". VentureBeat. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  18. ^ a b Kane, Mark (November 4, 2020). "WiTricity Raises $34 Million To Expand Wireless EV Charging". InsideEVs. Motorsport Network. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  19. ^ Walrath, Rowan (March 2, 2021). "VC funding update: Boston startups and tech firms raised $2.3B in February". BostInno. The Business Journals. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  20. ^ Korosec, Kirsten (March 1, 2021). "The Station: Lucid Motors, Joby Aviation take the SPAC path and Sergey Brin's airship ambitions". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  21. ^ Talbot, David (May 13, 2016). "Wireless Charging Is Actually Charging Ahead". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  22. ^ Mearian, Lucas (December 5, 2013). "Toyota signs wireless charging deal with WiTricity". Computerworld. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  23. ^ a b Kane, Mark (March 29, 2019). "Zhejiang VIE to Use WiTricity Wireless Charging in China". InsideEVs. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  24. ^ McMahan, Scott (February 11, 2019). "WiTricity and Qualcomm Partner on Halo Wireless EV Charging". EE Power. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  25. ^ Mearian, Lucas (June 11, 2014). "Intel plans to team up with WiTricity on wireless charging". Computerworld. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  26. ^ Glass, Nick; Ponsford, Matthew (March 28, 2014). "Wireless electricity? It's here". CNN. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  27. ^ Mearian, Lucas (October 13, 2021). "Power play: Wireless charging at a distance arrives". Computerworld. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  28. ^ Low, Aloysius (June 2, 2016). "Dell laptops coming soon with WiTricity wireless charging". CNET. Red Ventures. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  29. ^ a b Phelan, Mark (November 28, 2020). "This new feature is about to make electric cars way easier to use". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  30. ^ Dasgupta, Sabyasachi (May 11, 2020). "Wireless charging for electric vehicles could soon be a reality". Hindustan Times. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  31. ^ Wood, Charlie (June 8, 2020). "Researchers work on the next generation of wireless charging for electric vehicles and mobile devices". CNBC. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  32. ^ Hanley, Steve (November 5, 2020). "SAE Publishes New Wireless Charging Standard". CleanTechnica. Retrieved March 30, 2021.

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