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Volkswagen Could Offer Wireless Electric Car Charging By 2017

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Volkswagen e-Golf (European model) test drive, Berlin, March 2014

Volkswagen e-Golf (European model) test drive, Berlin, March 2014

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Volkswagen is on a plug-in car push right now, releasing several plug-in vehicles over the course of this year and the next.

It's keen to invest in related technology too, hinting that wireless charging could be an option on its vehicles as early as 2017.

Speaking to Ecomento (via Autoblog), Herbert Ruholl, Volkswagen’s technical leader for electrified vehicles, said that Volkswagen has chosen to hold back the technology while standardization issues are worked out.

Essentially, Volkswagen doesn't want inductive charging to replicate the issues seen with current wired charging systems--where several different vehicles use different connector types.

It's "not good for the customer", Ruholl told Ecomento, saying that customers don't want a different inductive charging system for every electric car they own.

It would also prove problematic at public charging stations--essentially limiting certain vehicles to certain parking spots.

MORE: Installing A Wireless Charging System: What It Really Takes

VW sees value in the convenience of wireless charging, and says it could offer such a system as an optional extra as soon as 2017.

It isn't known how much such a system would add to the price of a car like Volkswagen's new e-Golf, launched recently in Berlin.

Existing off-the-shelf systems for cars like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf run into the thousands of dollars--though it's likely a production system would cost less based on higher volumes alone.

The systems have proven their worth in real-world applications though. Some electric bus routes in Turin, Italy, have used wireless charging for over a decade--topping up the buses' batteries at stops, terminals and hubs.

Will it work as effectively in passenger cars? That remains to be seen--but it could at least be an option in the near future.

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