Nissan Leaf with automatic parking location to position over a wireless charging pad, Oppama, JapanEnlarge Photo
Right now, all plug-in electric cars are recharged using a cable that connects the car through a charging device to electric current of various types.
But if Nissan has its way, that will change in a couple of years.
The company has said it expects to offer a wireless charging system as an accessory for the 2015 Infiniti LE four-door luxury electric car that it will launch in about 18 months.
And it will combine that system with an automatic parking location system that lets the car position itself precisely over the charging pad, freeing the owner of the fine adjustment necessary to do so.
We were able to watch a prototype of the automatic parking location system in action during a visit to the Nissan GranDrive demonstration facility in Oppama, Japan, about 10 days ago.
Installed in a Nissan Leaf electric car--whose basic platform the Infiniti LE will share--the system requires the driver to drive the car along a path perpendicular to the charging pad.
The driver stops when the car's center (shown as a green projecting line on the in-dash display) is located precisely over the pad.
Once the driver hits the button, the system takes over, steering the car in the first half of a Y-turn while the driver accelerates until the car tells him to stop.
Then the driver puts the car in reverse, the car steers itself backward on the other leg of the Y, and tells the driver to press the brake pedal when it is positioned exactly over the pad.
The system, according to Nissan engineers, uses visual identification via the company's "AroundView" camera and sensor technology to identify and locate the charging pad.
The 2015 Infiniti LE is expected to go into production late next at Nissan's Smyrna, Tennessee, assembly plant. It will join the 2013 Nissan Leaf cars that will start rolling off that line in January.
Your can watch the system demonstrated in the video above.
Nissan provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this first-hand report.