Bosch will produce the first wireless electric vehicle charging system, the technology supplier announced this week.
The Plugless L2 System resembles a small launch pad in the middle of the floor (see a photo here). Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf owners — the system isn't compatible with other EV models — would simply drive over the parking pad to start charging their cars. The system includes the parking pad, a vehicle adapter to be installed in the car’s undercarriage and a wall-mounted control panel to help in alignment and other standard charging-station functions.
The Bosch system will be comparable in charging time to standard 240-Volt and 3.3-kilowatt systems. Bosch will produce the system in partnership with Virginia-based company Evatran Group, Inc. Interested buyers can order now; shipments are expected to begin in July.
The system will set car owners back about $3,000, and that's just for the vehicle adapter installation. Bosch's order site didn't list the additional costs for installation of the parking pad and wall panel; a representative said installation would vary based on each driver's home and electrical configuration.
Kirk Brown, managing director of Plug In America, a coalition of EV drivers and advocate, didn't blink at the price. "Any charging station can cost a couple thousand dollars, but on the face of it, that number doesn't seem extremely high," Brown said. "And as we get more experienced in the technology, designing and selling it, the costs will likely come down a bit too."
Brown said the EV community appreciates any charging innovations, but "today's technology is already working just fine for 100,000 drivers around America."
While the added convenience would be a plus, Brown said most EV owners are more concerned with tackling misconceptions about battery-powered cars.
Usually, he said, it just takes getting the uninitiated inside an EV for the first time. "People are blown away when they drive one. ... The notion that you plug it in at home, and every time you come downstairs in the morning you've got essentially a 'full tank of gas' — it's really transformative for people."
The biggest trade-off, of course, is limited range. In most electric cars, that "full tank" will only take you about 80 miles, although the biggest battery option in the luxury Tesla Model S, which can cost up to about $100,000, has a range of 265 miles.