Qualcomm wireless EV charging may eliminate need to plug in
A friend of ours works at Qualcomm and owns a Nissan LEAF. Qualcomm is an environmentally conscious company that operates with an eye toward assisting in providing a cleaner environment. This post, though, is not about that. We learned of some news recently that Qualcomm may be able to assist with in the future.
Yahoo! autos posted a recent article about Chevy Volt 120-volt EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) cords melting. As the Yahoo! article references a Volt owners blog as providing this information, it is fair to say that it is not a just a bunch of anti-Volt bashers out stirring up vitriol. Apparently many Volt owners have experienced overheating, discoloring, and in some cases, melting of a portion of their GM supplied EVSE. Also, it seems, GM is replacing said damaged items brought to them by the equipment owners. To be fair, the article goes on to say that at least one LEAF owner has complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with the same complaint, although it also states that he was using an extension cord – specifically outlined as a “do not do this” activity in the Nissan LEAF owners manual. When a Nissan exec was queried about why the Nissan LEAF 120-volt EVSE was more expensive that that provided with the Chevrolet Volt he replied (flippantly in our view): “Because ours is better.”
Naturally, GM has stated that the problem is with the owners homes and electrical systems, as opposed to General Motors equipment. And while there is likely some truth to that at least in some instances, one must keep in mind that there have been more LEAFs sold than Volts to date. If these problems were all due to irregularities with the home rather than the equipment, we would think that the same issues would be happening to LEAF owners, at least to the same degree. This does not appear to be the case. We are not electricians, and we know that many factors must be considered in evaluating situations such as these, but we find it difficult to believe that the fault lies entirely with the home and none with the EVSE (whether by design or construction).
So where does Qualcomm fit into all of this? Looking on their corporate web site to find out more about their support of EV drivers, we found that Qualcomm is actively pursuing wireless charging for electric vehicles. In fact, Qualcomm has recently acquired HaloIPT, a wireless EV charging developer. The advantage of such a system is that plugging in may be an activity destined for the history books as an EV can be charged just by parking in a certain area. 2012 will find 50 electric vehicles in London testing this Qualcomm system for viability. We look forward to the results of this test.