Wireless electric vehicle charging is the ideal technology for EV drivers who literally want to think about charging their car as little as possible. With enough magnetic resonance pads installed in the ground and in cars, people could simply go about their business the exact same way they do today but would almost always have a fully-charged car when they pull out of their special parking spot.
That’s the dream, anyway, and WiTricity announced today that it has taken another big step towards making it a reality with the acquisition of “certain technology platform and IP assets” from its former competitor Qualcomm Halo. As part of the deal, Qualcomm Halo will now become a minority WiTricity shareholder. Detailed financial aspects of the acquisition were not announced.
WiTricity says that now that it owns some of Qualcomm’s technology, it will own or control over 1,500 patents and patent applications that are related to wireless charging. Given that no automaker is making public statements about its own wireless charging tech – to date, the OEMs have been more in favor of partnering with WiTricity or Qualcomm; in 2018, for example, BMW offered buyers of its 530e iPerformance sedan the option of factory-equipped wireless charging. – this deal makes WiTricity the big player in the wireless EV game.
WiTricity is pitching the acquisition as a way for the wireless EV industry to get the tech to consumers faster than if WiTricity and Qualcomm continued working together to set wireless standards but remained separate entities working on the same problem.
“WiTricity’s wireless charging technology is key to the future of mobility which is clearly electric, and increasingly shared and autonomous,” WiTricity CEO Alex Gruzen said in a statement. “Electric Vehicle drivers and fleets demand a simple, effortless charging experience. Bringing the Qualcomm Halo technology into the WiTricity portfolio will simplify global interoperability and significantly accelerate commercialization. This is an exciting day for WiTricity, for automakers, for prospective EV buyers, and ultimately for any company deploying fleets of autonomous vehicles.”