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CE devices, EVs to gain from wireless charging

Posted: 20 Sep 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Wireless Power Transmission? electric vehicle? portable CE? wireless charging?

IDTechEx's report titled "Wireless Power Transmission for Consumer Electronics and Electric Vehicles 2012-2022," centers on the expected market for Wireless Power Transmission (WPT). In particular, portable consumer electronics (CE) devices and electric vehicles (EVs) present a number of opportunities to speed up the rate of adoption of WPT that include greater functionality, standards availability and convenience.

WPT concerns transfer of watts up to high power of the order of kilowatts at ranges of about 1mm to about 60cm. This usually involves static transmitters and a larger number of receivers incorporated in what are usually portable CE devices. The transmitters are usually hard-wired to AC mains or energy harvesters such as photovoltaic cells, there being a trend toward multiple energy harvesting. It will only become mass market if standards that are more comprehensive are widely adopted and the manufacturers of the portable CE devices incorporate the receivers during manufacture. We forecast the demand by power level and consider other criteria such as technology, range and region of adoption.

The extreme inconvenience of the proliferation of electrically charged products each with an incompatible charging power supply must be overcome. Three to four billion units are made every year, a potential market for wireless charging pairs of up to $10 billion yearly, given market growth. In addition, the massive disposal of non-standard external power supplies for CE is an environmental concern. Only 15-20 percent by weight of electronic products including laptops, cellphones and their power supplies are recycled. A typical user of electronic devices now carries at least three different chargers and at least an equal number of cables for energy charging and data transfer functions. There is now a consumer demand to charge mobile devices wirelessly, eliminating most wiring.

Traction batteries not improving fast enough either. Those using pure electric cars seek to avoid range anxiety in some convenient way. Standing in the rain to plug in an electric cable that then trips off for safety reasons does not qualify though almost all the investment in vehicle charging infrastructure is going into that. Convenient electric top up of hybrid EVs is also an important market driver as they become capable of all electric range of more than 100km, creating the opportunity to pay one fifth as much for 'fuel' due to a quirk in the taxation system (electricity is cheap) and to save the planet as power stations get cleaner. It has been established that, as with gasoline pumping, a high proportion of women in particular find it unpleasant and even dangerous to get out of the vehicle and plug in for electricity. With WPT, they stay clean and safe inside the vehicle.

WPT for CE and EVs is in its infancy. Most production consists of a transmitter and receiver pair, though the receiver will increasingly be sold as part of the original equipment. In the following decade, the number of transmitters sold may somewhat exceed the number of transmitters as architects, coffee shops and others widely deploy them for CE as a convenience for the public, emulating the spread of WiFi. The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) specifically models its work on the success of WiFi. Interestingly, it and its members have ambitions for the smaller EVs being charged with its technologies and to its standards.

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