Could EV charging plugs eventually become a thing of the past? Earlier this week, Business Insider reported that Tesla is interested in acquiring a German wireless charging startup called Wiferion. Wiferion has developed wireless charging solutions for industrial robots and self-driving electric vehicles.
At a Paris innovation conference on June 16, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told French billionaire Antoine Arnault that the most important factor affecting Tesla’s valuation is the degree to which the company succeeds with driverless cars. Therefore, it’s unsurprising that Tesla is also interested in driverless charging. However, until now, most of Tesla’s work on driverless charging has centered on automated robotic arms. Tesla’s interest in Wiferion suggests that the company is changing tactics in favor of wireless charging garages.
Purchasing Wiferion would also improve Tesla’s manufacturing efficiency. Tesla uses many robots in its factories.
Wireless EV charging technology has yet to be widely adopted due to its high cost. Nevertheless, it offers some huge advantages compared to using charging cables. Wireless charging causes an EV to charge automatically as soon as it enters the garage. This eliminates the risk of the driver forgetting to charge the EV after returning home. Also, wireless charging technology is less exposed to snow and ice than charging cables. This causes wireless charging technology to have a longer life span.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of wireless charging is that it makes it far easier to charge multiple EVs simultaneously. The vast majority of EV charge ports are on the driver’s side of the car. This means that for a family with two EVs, one EV is always forced into an awkward charging position. Wireless charging eliminates this problem. For companies with large fleets of commercial vehicles, wireless charging could play a big role in making electrification more viable.
Compared to other major corporations, Tesla tends to be much less interested in buying smaller companies. This makes Tesla’s push to buy Wiferion all the more significant. The deal is yet to be confirmed, so make sure to stay tuned for further updates.