Toyota begins wireless charging trial
The technology will allow drivers to park over a charging pad which wirelessly transmits a charge to a receiver on the car, in turn charging the battery.
Toyota first showed an interest in the technology when it invested in Massachusetts-based WiTricity in 2011, signing an intellectual property license agreement with the company last December to use its wireless charging equipment on its future plug-in vehicles.
Trials are to take place in Europe, the USA and Japan throughout this year as the company readies the technology for its next-generation Prius – a range which will target a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions and include a Plug-in Hybrid offering extra range and wireless charging capability.
In this latest field test, to be held in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, three modified third-generation Prius Plug-in Hybrids will be deployed for home use, aimed at testing satisfaction, ease of use, charging behaviour and misalignment rates – how frequently drivers don’t park directly over the charging pad.
Charged wirelessly, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid will reach 100% capacity in 90 minutes, and the test cars feature a new park assistance system which will help position the vehicle over the charging pad. Toyota said the new pads are designed to minimise loss from misalignment and interference with electrical equipment, and are tough enough for a car to drive over them.