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Kia tests Soul wireless charging

2018 Kia Soul EV

South Korea’s Kia has completed the development of a wireless charging system, tested on its Soul EV model

The new system was tested out on five Kia Soul EVs under real world conditions.

The project, a collaborative effort between the Hyundai-Kia America Technical Centre (HATCI) and Mojo Mobility (Mojo), along with the US Department of Energy’s (DoE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, has been three years in the making.

The compact wireless charging system is capable of transferring power at rate of more than 10 kW during fast charging, while targeting an 85% grid-to-vehicle efficiency.

The system uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two coils – a transmitter on the ground and a receiver on the bottom of the vehicle.

The driver parks the car above the transmitter to begin charging and then energy is sent through an inductive coupling to an electrical device, which uses that energy to charge the electric vehicles’ battery.

The system can handle a degree of misalignment between the transmitter and the receiver, making it easier and more convenient for owner’s day-to-day use.

“We’re thrilled with the success of the system and its efficiency,” said HATCI president William Freels. “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.”

Wireless charging has been in the sights of a number of developers, with Renault testing wireless charging systems that allow a vehicle to charge even on the move and Mercedes looking to be one of the first to deploy the technology on a more widespread basis to consumers.

However, the technology is still not efficient enough for mass adoption, and Kia currently has no plans to offer the wireless charging system to consumers. The company does, however, see this as a positive development for the nascent technology and suggests that similar systems could be deployed on future Kia vehicles.


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