Trial for wireless charging of electric cars set for London

The UK’s first electric vehicle wireless charging trial is to start in London next year.

The technology, which allows EV drivers to charge their batteries by parking over an inductive power transfer pad, is to be rolled out following its purchase by US telecoms firm Qualcomm from its creators HaloIPT.

The pre-commercial trial is expected to start in early 2012 involving up to 50 EVs and based partially in the ’Tech City’ cluster of internet and technology businesses in East London.

Qualcomm’s partners in the UK government, Mayor of London’s office and Transport for London hope the area’s entrepreneurial community will create services and applications that will encourage more people to drive EVs.

Prime minister David Cameron said: ‘Creative, high-tech advances such as this are extremely important as we work to rebalance our economy, and the decision to trial this at Tech City shows confidence in the UK as an ideal place for innovation and investment.’

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘In my quest to deliver cleaner air for the capital, I want London to be the electric car epicentre of Europe. Encouraging a massive uptake in electric driving is key to this vision of becoming a zero-emission city.

‘We are already on this path with Transport for London delivering a citywide charging network, but we need to go further. This trial is an innovative new facet of my plans, with the promise to help drivers go electric with even greater confidence.’

Andrew Gilbert, executive vice-president of the European Innovation Development at Qualcomm, said: ‘Wireless charging eradicates the EV plug-in cable and makes charging of electric vehicles simple and easy for drivers.

UK minicab company Addison Lee and EV charging infrastructure operator Chargemaster have also agreed to participate in the London trial.

‘As a company with a keen eye on the future, we believe that the WEVC [wireless electric vehicle charging] London trial will provide unique insights into how wirelessly charged electric vehicles could be used in our business,’ said John Griffin, chairman of Addison Lee.

HaloIPT’s charging technology was originally developed by researchers from Auckland University in New Zealand and spun out and developed by Auckland Uniservices and Arup.

Qualcomm acquired all of the technology and other assets of HaloIPT for an undisclosed sum and all members of the HaloIPT team have joined Qualcomm’s European Innovation Development group based in the UK.