Kia has developed a new wireless charging system for the Soul EV.
Wireless charging technology is nothing new, having been available on modern cellphone models for some time. But for the first time, that same technology has been applied successfully to an electric car.
Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI) partnered with Mojo Mobility Inc. to create the technology in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The technology isn’t really renewable energy in any way, but the Department of Energy just likes to be included in these sorts of projects.
The system works the exact same way as wireless charging pads for your cell phone, only on a much larger scale. First, the charging zone is established on the driveway or garage where the Soul EV will park. Next, the Soul parks over the energy transmitter and the receiving coil on the Soul charges the battery pack via electromagnetic inductance.
The system is 85 percent as efficient as just plugging the car into the wall, according to Kia, and can even take some misalignment between car and transmitter and still be relatively effective.
“We’re thrilled with the success of the system and its efficiency,” said William Freels, HATCI President, in a press release. “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.”
Currently, Kia only has the Soul EV as its offering to the electric car market. The most recent model of the Soul EV comes with an 81.4kW motor in the front that puts out roughly 109 bhp. The battery is somewhat less stellar than its competitors in the EV segment, only storing 111 miles of usable energy.
Kia said there are no immediate plans to bring the wireless charging technology to future variants of the Soul EV, and that the current set of test vehicles are just to develop the technology. However, you can bet this technology will appear in some electric vehicles in the future.