The original factory wireless charger that goes on sale first in the United States may not come from Tesla or one of the Chinese electric vehicle makers, but from Stellantis.
When it reveals it Ram . electric truck concept Last week, Ram introduced the center stage of the future inductive charging robot.
Mike Koval, CEO of Ram, said: “We learned from our Real Talk tour that our customers care not only about how long a charge will last on the road, but also how easy it is. ease of charging. “And with our upcoming new inductive robot charger, aka the Ram Charger, it will make charging at home as easy as possible.”
Koval confirmed to Green Car Reports that the charging robot is a production feature, although it is still in development.
Currently, Stellantis doesn’t have an EV for the US, so the inductive charging robot is a pleasant surprise as a technological leap.
The robot, developed by EFI Automotive, intelligently detects the vehicle’s charging needs, moves to a charging location wherever possible in the garage, and will select off-peak times to charge when possible.
Wireless can be a confusing word to use in this case, as although the inductive charger charges wirelessly, it is connected to the base station of the wall box via a cable. As the video below shows, the robotic charger leaves the cable as a trail to the ideal location underneath the vehicle, potentially reversing its path after charging to keep the cable under control. .
The system has been in development for the past five years, according to EFI, with intelligence from its robotics subsidiary Akeoplus. It uses AI to automatically move to the vehicle position, avoid obstacles in the way, and stop if motion is detected. EFI says that some vehicles can be charged by the robot, as it has a range (cable limit) up to 32.8 feet.
The robot is set up in a way that completely eliminates cable handling for owners and chargers suitable for light and commercial vehicles as well as in home or business applications.
There is no physical connection carrying current from the charger to the vehicle. In inductive wireless charging, an electric current is generated across a copper coil, creating an oscillating magnetic field, which is then captured by another copper coil and converted back into energy.
An important aspect of this application is that once the robot is in place, it lifts the disc-shaped sensing pad upwards to make basic contact with the receiver pad. The company claims that the inductive charging technology in the robot is 97% efficient, which is better than the inductive charging systems that maintain the air gap.
Ram Revolution EV concept with inductive charger
The EFI also claims that with an inductive charger it can improve a vehicle’s battery life by 15%, although it doesn’t state whether that is related to the charging power source, charging habits, or a combination of both. two or not.
Currently, the robot is developed to have a charging capacity of 7 kW, and in the document distributed to CES, the company says it will start production in 2025 — the same year a Ram expands the project range. opinion, based on suggestions that it could monitor Ram purely electrically for about a year.
Robotic Inductive Ram Charger for Future Ram EV
The electric charging robot solves one of the problems with inductive charging, especially at home, which is that once the charging pad has been placed, the vehicle needs to be parked in a perfectly aligned manner (difference or a few inches). with charging pad. If the bike or anything else in the garage gets in the way and the vehicle has to be parked in a different location, it can’t take advantage of that charging.
Wireless charging technology could be a game changer for electric vehicles, making them more livable on a daily basis and increasing the likelihood that owners of plug-in hybrids (or range-extending electric vehicles) will actually plug in. .
Ram Revolution EV concept with inductive charger
That might be what Ram is betting, especially with the additional confirmation that a Ram EV Extends Range is on the way
So far, none of the US models offer a factory wireless charging setup. However, the Genesis GV60 offers factory integration in its home market of South Korea, and the technology has been applied in a number of electric vehicles for the Chinese market from Hongqi and IM Motors, as well as in the Zhiji L7 produced by Alibaba. backing.
In the US, BMW has tested the technology with the 5-Series plug-in hybrid in a small test program, and there are various aftermarket setups that allow owners to equip their vehicles—at no cost. several thousand dollars.
Ford has developed an automatic charging system with researchers in Germany, points to potential future use by roboticaxi teams, although that system uses a robotic arm that needs to be ready for vehicles and charging ports at different heights . Chinese company AIWays showed a robot concierge named CARL can be called by an application to provide a fee.
There are also Tesla’s Solid Charger, bend and wriggle from near floor level to the charging port and plug in. It hasn’t progressed past the concept stage, and at the time it was revealed, in 2015, CEO Elon Musk said it was “for realz. To date, it’s not “realz.”