A wireless vehicle charging technology developed by researchers at the University of Auckland is being adopted in the US by Lear Corporation, a global supplier of automotive electrical and seating products that is ranked 154 in the Fortune 500.
This follows the signing of an agreement between Lear and Qualcomm, which in 2011 acquired the company set up by the University to develop the technology, now marketed as Qualcomm Halo.
According to the university, Qualcomm has researchers based in Auckland working with the university team. Their aim is to refine the technology to enable drivers to charge up while on the move.
(The Qualcomm Halo website says: “The future of wireless charging is embedded Qualcomm Halo in roadways, making it possible to charge on the go. With a limitless range, your car will be able to keep going long after you’re ready for a rest stop.”)
The university says two of its professors, John Boys and Grant Covic, pioneered wireless or inductive power transfer technology.
“In 1986 the team were the first in the world to make power jump efficiently and practically across air from one object to another by intersecting two magnetic fields,” a statement from the university said.
“Their technology is used throughout the world, from factories that depend on automated systems or clean-room environments, to powering artificial hearts and charging electric vehicles. They were awarded the 2013 Prime Minister’s Science Prize.”
Will Charles, GM technology and development for UniServices, the University’s commercial research, knowledge transfer and custom education company, said the announcement represented a major step towards clean, green electric vehicles being a common sight on by the end of the decade.
“We are really excited to see this development as it puts NZ technology on the map and will bring commercial benefits to the University through our partnership with Qualcomm, and represents another milestone in the relationship we have had with Qualcomm since 2011,” he said.
Lear will be including Qualcomm Halo wireless electric vehicle(WEVC) charging technology in its product portfolio to commercialise WEVC systems for plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV) manufacturers, as well as wireless charging infrastructure companies.
Under the terms of the agreement, Qualcomm has granted Lear a royalty-bearing license to develop, make and supply WEVC systems based on Qualcomm Halo technology, and the two companies says they are collaborating on multiple WEVC production programs across multiple car companies.