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German electronics company Siemens is set to begin field trials of an inductive charging system, in partnership with BMW.
Inductive charging is a popular concept for charging away from home - it allows for charging without trailing cables and plugs around, and without requiring charging posts lining every street. Instead, a ground-mounted charging station uses an electric coil to generate a magnetic field. The field induces an electric current in a coil mounted in the vehicle that then recharges the battery.
A similar system is already widely available to consumers... but only for charging smaller devices, such as cell phones.
Upscaling the technology for electric vehicles could put to rest many of the concerns people have over range anxiety or finding a place to charge, and they could be installed in all sorts of places - at stop lights, for example, or in mall parking lots. Siemens says the ideal distance for charging is between 3 to 6 inches. The charging efficiency is as high as 90 percent.
The trials are due to begin in Berlin in June, in conjunction with BMW. There's no word as yet on the vehicle BMW will be using, though their current electric car trial uses the BMW ActiveE, an electric version of the 1-Series Coupe. 700 examples of the ActiveE
are due to undergo trials, and several of the 500 staying in Europe will be driven around Berlin.
You can read more about the BMW ActiveE in our Geneva Motor Show report