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Bosch Offers Wireless Charging For Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt

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Tired of plugging in your Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt electric car to recharge every night?

Yearn for the simplicity of simply parking over a charging pad and walking away?

Bosch Automotive Service Solutions feels your pain.

The service arm of the German auto-parts maker is now offering a wireless battery-charging system for owners of either plug-in electric vehicle, at a cost of about $3,000 plus installation.

That fee covers the 240-Volt Level 2 charging-station wall unit, an adapter on the vehicle, and the floor-mounted charging pad.

Installation extra

The wall unit not only connects to a 30-Amp 240-Volt power supply and contains the circuitry to enable charging, it also guides the driver to park in the correct location to enable charging.

It's meant to be mounted on a garage wall directly in front of the parking space that will house the electric car. It also shows charging status information.

The adapter, mounted on the undercarriage of the electric car, is unique to each vehicle and contains the receiving coil for the wireless charging system.

An adapter for the Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car costs $2,998; the Nissan Leaf adapter runs $3,098.

The parking pad contains the transmitting coil, and is connected via cable to the wall unit.

Know your building code

Electric-car drivers who consider installing such a system should be aware that some local building codes may require trenching the 240-Volt power cable that connects the parking pad to the wall unit.

That will make installation costs somewhat variable.

The 3.3-kilowatt system, called Plugless Power, is made by Evatran Group, which has been testing it in a limited trial program for two years now and first unveiled the system in 2010.

Owners of 2013 Nissan Leafs fitted with the more powerful 6.6-Volt onboard charger should note that the Plugless Power system does not take advantage of its higher capacity, meaning full recharge times of up to 8 hours.

Delphi wireless charging system for EVs

Delphi wireless charging system for EVs

Enlarge Photo

Wireless charging to grow

Also known as inductive charging, wireless charging will grow steadily through 2020 as the total number of installed chargers soars, according to Pike Research.

While it relieves the electric-car driver of having to lift a cable and plug it into a car, it's also considerably more expensive than the $500 to $1,500 cost of a conventional cabled charging system.

And, there is some power loss--as much as 10 to 15 percent--between the two unconnected halves of the charging system.

The Evatrans wireless charging system has been tested by various users over the past two years. Hertz tested the Plugless Power system at its New Jersey headquarters and Google did the same at its Silicon Valley offices.

Other plug-in cars to come

Plugless Power says it's working to bring its system to other electric cars.

It offers a "reserve list" on which owners who have plug-in vehicles that aren't the Leaf or Volt can sign up for priority in ordering when those systems become available.

Meanwhile, Leaf or Volt owners who are interested in learning more can register with Plugless Power or call Bosch directly at 877 805-3873.

Bosch also offers various financing plans, according to Plug-In Cars, to make the installation more affordable.

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Comments (18)
  1. I guess you have to start somewhere. But not having level 2 charging would be a non-starter for most Leaf owners (and any other level 2 vehicles).

    Even if someone had the money to pay double the cost of a plug-in, this system needs to be improved before it is acceptable for anyone other than Volt owners.

    Still, this is a first step, so in a few years the cost will be cut, the charging capacity will be acceptable, and sales will be better.
     
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  2. @Douglas: This system offers Level 2 charging at 240 Volts.

    But it offers it at a maximum 3.3 kilowatts, not the 6.6-kW rate that many electric cars can now handle to shorten recharging times.
     
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  3. John, Perhaps my understanding of level 2 definition is incorrect, but I thought a true level 2 charger would generate the voltage for my Focus and the Leaf.

    Either way, the charger does not offer the ability to quickly charge the latest electric vehicles.
     
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  4. @Douglas: The limiting factor is the car's built-in charger. The Level 2 charging *station* can deliver either 3.3 kW or 6.6 kW, which translates to 8-9 hours or 4-5 hours for totally depleted packs in either car. The Ford has a 6.6-kW charger; older Leafs have a 3.3, most 2013 Leafs are now 6.6.

    But Level 2 charging is entirely different from "DC quick charging," which can recharge the pack to 80% in 30 mins or less. That's a different standard altogether.
     
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  5. First world problems... Too tired of plugging and unplugging every day, so I'll drop $3K not to ever do it again.
     
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  6. Yes, I thought so too, but there might be other application for this, other than laziness. I think it could be applied for commercial applications, for taxi drivers, rental cars and more.
     
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  7. Pricing appears to combine to EV adapter (power capture resonator) and charge pad (power source resonator). What if an EV owner wants a pad at home, and another pad to charge at work?

    ProTip: When trenching, better to use cable that can handle 10-20 kW vs. 3.3 kW of current inductive charge system. Guessing a 6.6 kW version will be offer in a couple years. ;)
     
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  8. I wonder how much of a phantom load this will be when not in operation, in addition to the estimated 10 to 15% loss during operation? All designed to save the 10 seconds of plugging in and the other 10 seconds unplugging.

    For the wealthy, though, this could be a great new status symbol.
     
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  9. Okay, seriously? Are we really that lazy?

    This is a home installation version. Most plugin cars will take no more than 10 seconds to plug in. Not to mention that most plugin buyers care about efficiency.

    This system can NOT be better than 85% efficiency. So, why lose another 15% just so you can save 10 seconds? 15% on a Volt is about 1.8 KWh and that is enough to travel additional 5 miles. On a Leaf, that is up to 3.6KWh, enough to travel at least 10 miles. If we do this daily, that is a significant loss.

    Not to mention that you have to PAY $3K for this loss just so you can save 10 seconds...
     
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  10. What happens when the cat gets in there?

    Not interested at all.
     
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  11. If only BIlly Mays were still around he could sell this! I can see it now...

    Leaf pulls into garage, the driver gets out, reaches for the cable and drops six bags of groceries!

    "DOES THIS HAPPEN TO YOU?!?!?! For 29,95 WE HAVE THE SOLUTION!!!!"

    fine print on screen reads: "$2995 for Chevrolet Volt wireless charger (not shown). Nissan Volt: $3095 does not including installation or floor trenching expenses to meet building codes in some areas. Maximum charging rate is 3.3kW - does not support optional 6.6kW onboard chargers."

    You'd have to be REALLY lazy or stupid - or both - to buy this for your garage.

    If EVs had induction pads pre-installed, this would make great sense for public chargers though!
     
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  12. Meh. Not worth it . It has every appearance of a solution in search of a problem at this point. Maybe in future it will be cheaper and feasible. I have an electric toothbrush that recharges inductively, but that makes sense as it needs to be sealed to be waterproof. But for my Leaf, not so much.
     
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  13. Sure it's expensive now, but that's the intro alpha-release price. It'll take a few years to standardize, but then it'll be built into every electric vehicle and charging station. It'll be yet another advantage of electric cars over gas. "Grandpa, did you really have to visit a special place every week to fuel your car? They really made you waste a lot of time in the old days, didn't they?"
     
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  14. I still don't see a substantive advantage. You could have that same conversation with grandpa now if he has a plug-in vehicle.
     
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  15. This unit might be putting out a lot of RF, which could have detrimental health effects. No thanks. You go first.
     
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  16. RF is not dangerous as long as you tune the power level down... :)
     
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  17. Thank you for all of the interest in our Plugless system - We recognize that this is a new product and that there will be many questions. We therefore posted an FAQ section on our website which answers some of the questions below, especially regarding safety and efficiency (we actually operate above 90%!). Please check it out at www.pluglesspower.com.
     
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  18. An inductive receiver on the car makes it one step closer to on-the-go charging while driving down an inductive strip on the highway. That would be especially great in congested areas where shorter sections would suffice.
     
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