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Does electric car wireless charging exist?

The idea of wirelessly charging your electric vehicle seems like a good idea and would solve a lot of hassle that surrounds EV ownership for most people

Two people looking happy inside a red car

It may not seem like much of a chore, but faffing around with charging your car can’t always be easy, especially with the different chargers and cables you need to sort through – and we love things faff-free here at cinch!

Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could just park your car in a garage or at the shops and it automatically charges? Well, that’s the idea with wireless charging.

Abhishek Sampat, head of electric vehicles at cinch, said: “While static and dynamic wireless charging in principle is a great solution to 'hands free' charging, there are still technological, infrastructural, and commercial challenges that need to be overcome.

“I would expect to see taxi and bus operators being a bigger customer base for this today, and when the technology can be improved in their use cases, we will see the introduction of the first customer targeted wireless charging option.”

Is it safe to wirelessly charge your electric car?

In theory, wirelessly charging your electric car would be no different to wirelessly charging your smartphone, which so many of us do as a part of our daily routine.

All it would mean is parking your car over a wireless charger and leaving it to do its thing. The main concern, however, is the amount of heat that would be generated. If you think how hot your phone gets when using a wireless charging pad, imagine that on a larger scale.

Why don’t we wirelessly charge electric cars already?

The simple answer is cost. Standard electric car home charging points are already expensive at between £800 and £1,500. Therefore, it’s pretty safe to say that wireless ones will cost into the thousands.

Another reason is the speed. As it currently stands – for phones at least – it charges much slower when not plugged in and at a hotter temperature. Why would we sacrifice speed when that’s what people want the most?

Once it makes sense, wireless charging will most likely be the preferred method to charge your car simply because it’s so much easier because you don’t need to remember to take cables for when you’re out and about.

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Is it expensive to wirelessly charge your car?

We briefly touched on the cost above but going into more depth, it’s much more expensive.

For example, there are some places in the world that have trialled wirelessly-charging buses, and these setups cost well over £20,000 for the four pads the bus drives over.

For cars, this will cost significantly less but will still be more expensive. There’s a company in America called Plugless Power that aims to offer these systems for $3,500 (£3,000) in the near future, but that’s still more than double what current wired chargers cost.

Do wireless charging cars exist yet?

Despite wirelessly charging your electric car sounding futuristic, carmakers have been testing it for years and it’s been mildly successful up to now.

One car brand that’s been very active in this space is BMW, which in 2018 trialled a wireless charger for its 5 Series saloon.

This was only available to a select few qualifying residents in California, which included a 36-month lease of a bespoke 530e that had been fitted with the correct hardware to charge without cables.

The system could charge at 3.2kW, which is slow for wired charging, but it did allow the batteries to charge in around 3.5 hours.

Learn more about electric vehicle charging: