FLO, in partnership with Hubject and WiTricity, is introducing Plug & Charge and testing ways to integrate wireless charging into its network
Charging network operator FLO is spearheading sister collaborations to integrate wireless charging and Plug & Charge technologies into its chargers.
The Quebec-based company is testing wireless electric vehicle charging with WiTricity, a Massachusetts-based wireless charging technology company.
The second partnership is with Hubject GmbH, a Berlin-based eMobility expert, with a mission to help connect charging providers and operators, through its global intercharge network for electric vehicles. With Hubject, FLO will be integrating Plug & Charge technology into its Ultra fast chargers.
“FLO is dedicated to advancing EV charging innovations that make charging more efficient, easier and safer,” said Nathan Yang, FLO’s chief product officer in a press statement.
“Working with leading partner companies allows us to develop and deliver the latest technologies to EV drivers with the mission to provide the best charging experience.”
WiTricity’s wireless charging technology
WiTricity offers wireless charging through its Halo EV charging system. FLO is working with WiTricity to explore the integration of Halo into its stations.
“FLO is committed to supporting all types of connectors available on vehicles in North America, including NACS and potentially wireless on future vehicles,” said Yang.
WiTricity’s technology uses magnetic resonance. This allows EVs with wireless charging capabilities to charge by parking over a pad instead of using cables.
The WiTricity Halo system consists of both a WiTricity Halo Receiver and a WiTricity Halo Charger. The receiver (installed in the vehicle) converts energy from the charger into direct current to charge the battery, WiTricity says on its website.
In March of this year, WiTricity partnered with ABT e-Line, a technology leader in aftermarket automotive solutions. The Germany-based ABT e-Line wants to bring wireless EV charging to Europe.
ABT e-Line is upgrading a VW ID.4 to support wireless charging using WiTricity’s technology by early 2024.
Volkswagen testing wireless charging
WiTricity is not the only player in the wireless EV charging game.
Volkswagen has also started working on its own wireless EV charging program at its Knoxville, Tenn., Innovation Hub this year. Volkswagen’s approach involves a patented coil and charging pad design that uses advanced silicon-carbide materials.
The automaker wants to build a wireless fast-charging system, capable of charging at speeds of 300 kW.
There is growing interest in wireless charging solutions. This month the Charging Interface Initiative organization (CharIN) launched a Wireless Power Transfer Taskforce, to help standardize and enable seamless wireless charging experiences. WiTricity, Siemens AG, and MAHLE are supporting the taskforce, and are inviting other industry stakeholders to participate.
“Currently, there are remaining gaps in standardization that pose challenges to vehicle OEMs and the imminent deployment of wireless charging,” reads the CharIN press release announcing the launch of the taskforce.
“Defining the respective applicability of wireless charging will play a crucial role in its integration into diverse EV platforms.”
Plug & Charge technology
FLO’s partnership with Hubject will introduce Plug & Charge technology to FLO’s chargers.
Plug & Charge technology authorizes billing and charging sessions from the vehicle directly to the charger. This eliminates the need for apps, RFID cards or any other manual payment method.
“Plug & Charge is an important feature for EV drivers to charge quickly and securely,” Yang said. “Hubject will help FLO bring this feature to market on our all-new FLO Ultra fast charger.”
Hubject will supply FLO with the infrastructure and ecosystem for secure communication between the vehicle, charger, charge point operators and eMobility service providers.
With FLO, Hubject will collaborate on the encryption technology.
Earlier this year, FLO announced the new Ultra fast chargers with the capability to charge most EVs to 80 percent in 15 minutes.
Production of the Ultra fast chargers is expected to begin in early 2024.