Hyundai and Kia tackle wireless charging of an electric vehicle

Posted on 14 Jul 2015 by Tim Brown
Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center and Mojo Mobility are to collaborate on wireless electric vehicle charging system - image courtesy of Kia Motors America.

Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center and Mojo Mobility, a wireless power technology company, have been awarded a funding grant to research and develop a system capable of wireless fast charging of an electric vehicle.

The funding has been made available from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Vehicle Technologies (VT) program.

Mojo Mobility is known for developing highly efficient wireless charging systems capable of transferring high power without need for precise alignment between the charger and the vehicle.

“HATCI is honored to be selected as a partner with the DOE,” said Dr. Sung Hwan Cho, president, HATCI. “Innovative technologies such as this align well with one of our core goals, which is to create a vehicle experience that is intuitive and easy for the consumer.”

The recent launch of the all-new 2015 Kia Soul EV, Kia’s first electric vehicle in the US market, reflects the increasing prevalence of and demand for electro-mobility and its criticality to reducing petroleum consumption in the US transportation sector.  Wireless charging technology has the potential to significantly enhance the convenience of electric vehicles – and thereby increase the appeal and acceptance among consumers – while possibly enabling smaller battery pack sizes and reduced vehicle weight.

HATCI and Mojo Mobility will develop, implement and demonstrate a wireless power transfer system on a test fleet of Kia Soul EVs over three phases, at HATCI in Superior Twp., Michigan, and Mojo Mobility in Santa Clara, California.

“We are delighted to partner with Kia and the U.S. DOE to bring the cutting-edge capabilities of our position-free wireless charging systems, which allow greater flexibility for vehicle alignment with the charging surface, to Kia Motors’ electric vehicles and accelerate their adoption and ease of use for consumers,” said Dr. Afshin Partovi, CEO and founder of Mojo Mobility.

During Phase One, the partnership developed a wireless power transfer system that has more than 85% grid-to-vehicle efficiency and is capable of transferring in excess of 10 kW to the vehicle for fast charging.

The new system will allow misalignment between the energy transmitter on the ground and the energy receiver on the vehicle, making it easier and more convenient for day-to-day usage.  In Phase Two, the partnership collaborated to integrate a compact system optimized for the Soul EV and demonstrate full operation at a record 92 percent efficiency.

Real-world performance data will be gathered in the third and final phase of the project using five Kia Soul EVs and corresponding energy transmission units.  This final phase will test the systems’ durability, interoperability, safety, and performance.

KMA and Mojo Mobility have not yet announced when the system will be available for purchase.

Hyundai America Technical Center

As one of Hyundai Motor Group’s (HMG) ten centers focused on research and development (R&D), Hyundai America Technical Center (HATCI) was established in 1986 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. HATCI is HMG’s design, technology and engineering division for the US.

As HMG solidified its position as one of the top five global OEMs, HATCI has grown to include a strong network of engineering disciplines and increased business-focused activities to support North America’s Voice of the Customer.

HATCI supports new model development for HMG’s North American operations and global programs from our dedicated engineering facilities and support staff at affiliate sites located throughout the United States (Alabama, California, Georgia, Michigan andWashington D.C.). HATCI’s success in satisfying the demands of increasingly sophisticated consumers is a direct result of HMG’s commitment to the future of American automotive engineering.