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Kia Takes One Step Closer To Wireless Charging

Technology / Comments

Wireless charging of your Soul EV is not too far away.

No, you won't be able to get a wireless charging option for Kia EVs next year, but Kia has developed working prototypes with this technology, an important milestone in a path to an electrified vehicle landscape. Working out of the Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Hyundai and Kia partnered with wireless charging specialist Mojo Mobility and the US Department of Energy three years ago to unlock the mysteries of efficient wireless charging for automotive applications.

Its guinea pig for this project was a fleet of five Kia Soul EVs, which were outfitted with compact wireless charging receivers that pair with an electromagnetic field generator. The Soul EV is capable of harvesting up to 10 kW of electrons out of thin air at an impressive 85% efficiency rating. For reference, the Tesla home charging station refuels at an 11.5 kW charge speed, and their Superchargers crank out up to 145 kW. In case you're wondering, wireless charging uses an "induction coil" to create an alternating electromagnetic field, and a second matching induction coil in the device, in this case the Soul EV, converts the electromagnetic field full of juicy free electrons back into electricity to charge the battery.

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While wireless charging is becoming common for phones and other small household appliances, it has yet to be perfected on a large scale as is necessary for vehicles, but this project tackles some of the issues with automotive charging. The system developed by Kia and Mojo is efficient enough to allow a bit of misalignment between the transmitter on the ground and the receiver on the vehicle, which makes it feasible for your average driver. "We're thrilled with the success of the system and its efficiency," said William Freels, HATCI President. "We set out to develop wireless charging that has real world applications and is easy to use for the consumer. Now, with this fleet of wireless Soul EVs, we can clearly see a future of unplugged electric vehicles."

Kia has no immediate plans to offer wireless charging on any of the electrified vehicles in its lineup, but this development project's success offers a beacon of hope that such a system is on the horizon not just from Kia, but other EV manufacturers like Tesla, BMW, Mercedes and more are sure to join the race as well. Wireless charging isn't the only futuristic tech we can't wait to see in action, and these are a few more.