Hyundai-Kia, tech firm get $6M U.S. grant to develop wireless EV charging

Hyundai-Kia’s U.S. technical center is teaming up with Mojo Mobility Inc., a wireless power technology company, to research and develop a high-speed wireless charging system for electric vehicles.

The two companies were awarded a $ 6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to complete the project, which will be tested on the 2015 Kia Soul EV.

Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford, Chevrolet and Mercedes-Benz have already started fitting or announced plans for fitting wireless charging into their vehicle range, according to a report from IHS Technology.

The research firm predicts that the first wireless charging-equipped vehicles could launch as soon as late 2016.

In the first phase of development, Hyundai-Kia American Technical Center Inc. and Mojo Mobility created a wireless power transfer system with about 85 percent grid-to-vehicle efficiency, capable of transferring 10 kW to the vehicle for quick charging, Kia said in a statement.

The companies are working on a compact charging system designed for the Soul EV that should yield 92 percent grid-to-vehicle efficiency.

It is not clear yet when the technology will be production-ready or available for purchase.

“HATCI is honored to be selected as a partner with the DOE,” HATCI President Sung Hwan Cho said in the statement. “Innovative technologies such as this align well with one of our core goals, which is to create a vehicle experience that is intuitive and easy for the consumer.”

You can reach Nora Naughton at nnaughton@crain.com.


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