The Prius Plug-In is going wireless, and WiTricity will be providing its resonant power transfer technology. This week, the Massachusetts-based MIT spinout announced an intellectual property license agreement with Toyota, which has been an investor in WiTricity since 2011.
Toyota announced plans to add wireless charging to the Prius line in August. “We have heard from Prius Plug-In Hybrid owners that they would like a more convenient charging operation,” said Managing Officer Satoshi Ogiso. “In response, we are developing a new wireless/inductive charging system that produces resonance between an on-floor coil and an onboard coil to recharge the battery without the fuss of a cable.”
Compatible wireless charging sources will be manufactured by third party charging system suppliers, under license from WiTricity. Toyota plans to start testing the system next year in the US, Japan, and Europe.
“Having the largest car company in the world standardize on your technology is a huge thing,” said WiTricity CEO Eric Giler. “We’ll pop the champagne corks over here in Watertown.” WiTricity also has partnerships with Audi and Mitsubishi.
“In general, the industry believes the inflection point for the adoption of electric cars is 2020. The money’s on that,” said Giler. “Our belief is that wireless charging of electric cars will start to show up in production models starting in the 2016 model year.”