The wireless mode of power transfer is a flourishing technology that enables a power source to transmit electromagnetic energy to a device through an air gap. The demand for wireless charging systems is substantially rising from low-power toothbrushes to high-power electric vehicles due to its convenience. Mobile phones and portable smart devices are witnessing high growth rates concerning the demand for cordless chargers. The incorporation of wireless charging systems incurs a high cost compared to wire charging.
A wireless power transmitter and receiver are required to be installed. The additional cost is incurred on crafting material, as wireless chargers generate more heat. In the case of charging automobiles, the deployment of inductive pads at regular distances along the roads, known as a charging lane, is required which is a costly procedure. Companies must allocate sufficient budgets in order to design a system that supplies 100% of the energy consumption of EVs. Further, peak hour traffic demands maximum charging power.
The U.S. Department of Energy states that if electricity costs USD 0.11 per kilowatt-hour, charging an EV with a 24 kWh battery will cost close to USD 2.64 to reach a full charge. This cost is akin to operating an average central air conditioner for about 6 hours. Dynamic Workplace Charging Scheme, with a charging power level of 200 kW, can cost up to USD 2 million/km/lane. Soaring price ranges are foreseen to be unaffordable for developing and underdeveloped countries, as it becomes an expensive investment.
The maintenance structure is of vital importance to avoid any critical losses due to improper handling and wear and tear of objects. The current charging pads offered by the above companies roughly range from USD 200 to USD 3000; however, the price is likely to differ vastly as new technology and features will be incorporated in these wireless charging systems. Companies, such as the London-based Connected Kerb, partnered with Munich-based Management and delivered the first installment of wireless/induction charging in the U.K. across multiple public sites, including residential, car parks, public service, and taxi ranks, in November 2019.
The design and development of inductive wireless charging systems are stringently governed by policies and other regulatory norms. Presently, various wireless charging electric vehicle projects are underway across the U.S., Italy, South Korea, Germany, and China, among others. As per the 4F International Energy Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) test procedures and standards do not cover current and future consumer products with wireless power consumer products. They are also not addressed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Program.
In the U.S., Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) is working in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. DOE on measurement methods for assessing the efficiency of wireless power transfer. The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (BFE) examined health effects from inductive chargers and concluded that the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) from these products is below the requisite limit by a factor of 1,000. It is presently considering regulations for the same. The Federal Communications Commission (the U.S.), Industry Canada, and the Council of the European Union have mandate SAR limits on the necessary amount of energy that can be absorbed by humans when exposed to radiations emitted by wireless devices.
The Qi specification, developed and supported by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), is the most widely adopted standard for wireless technology and is utilized in more than 2,700 products. It involves a combination of inductive charging and magnetic resonance technologies. These include smartphones, vehicle chargers, and wireless chargers available in public places like hotels, restaurants, and airports.
Products relying on the Qi standard are tested rigorously to ensure safety, interoperability, and energy efficiency. The products that have passed independent laboratory tests can use the Qi logo and are considered ‘Qi-certified.’ The Chinese government is providing subsidies to the tune of USD 7,978.65 on the purchase of a passenger battery electric vehicle (BEV) and USD 4,351.99 for a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).
The automotive segment is projected to witness substantial development over the forecast years in the global market. The rising number of car owners across the globe is also expected to accelerate the demand for battery electric vehicles. The electromagnetic induction-based wireless charging is projected to lead the market in automotive charging during the forecast period. This is attributed to its efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Inductive wireless car charging is also gaining traction in the highly advanced regions of Europe. The region has one of the highest penetrations of electric cars; therefore, demand for an inductive pad for charging is slated to rise in the forthcoming years. Inductive pads enhance fuel efficiency (due to the high coupling factor), consumes less time to charge, and can be stored to run the vehicle in areas where no charging is available.
Therefore, a rise in consumer demand for safe and effective wireless charging technology is expected to successfully drive market growth. Many companies are involved in the development of magnetic resonance type of wireless charging on account of its broad range of application areas and convenience. Companies, such as Powermat and Energous Corporation, among others, are offering wireless charging solutions based on inductive technologies.
Powermat’sSmartInductive Technology has set a new standard for inductive wireless charging that supports long-range wireless charging. Its AgileInductive technology is a flexible wireless charging platform that facilitates inductive charging experience, along with voltage, current, and thermal protection. Powermat’sAutoPower 3.0 provides 15W Qi-certified full performance wireless charging solutions for the automotive in-cabin system with reduced cost. Robert Bosch GmbH is offering various lightweight wireless car chargers that are compatible with a lithium-ion battery of a suitable voltage range.
Europe accounted for the largest market share in 2018 and is expected to be and lose its dominance in the market during the assessment period. The government initiatives in Europe to reduce pollution have resulted in the adoption of electric vehicles in the region. As per the European Environment Agency (EEA) report, it is revealed that electric cars emit less amount of greenhouse gases and air pollutants in their entire lifecycle when compared to petrol and diesel cars. Thereby, governments are encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles.
Governments in the region are investing significantly in the EV infrastructure and mobility programs to accelerate the supply rate. For instance, the Amsterdam Government has provided special citywide parking permits for electric car-sharing fleets. According to the U.K Department of Transport, it is revealed that the U.K government is investing USD 44 million in order to improve the electric vehicle’s infrastructure and the wireless electric car charging techniques. As per the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, after the government initiative concerning the infrastructure development for battery-electric cars, car registrations in the U.K increased by 61.7% to 2,461 in June 2019, compared with the sales in June 2018.
The rising popularity of battery-powered consumer electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, and portable media players, has led to an increased number of wires resulting in complications. The populace in Asia-Pacific is gradually adopting technologically advanced solutions and systems, which further offers lucrative opportunities for the market. The smartphone users in the region are increasing at an alarming rate, paving the demand for wireless charging technologies. In addition to consumer electronics penetration in the region, electric vehicles are also gaining significant traction in countries, including China.
The chief reason behind the increased sales of electric vehicles in China is attributed to its reduction in quality cars manufactured in the previous years. Chinese manufactured cars lack quality when compared to foreign cars, compelling the country to adopt a new technology to sustain in the market. Electric vehicles rely on electric powers than on mechanical complexities. Hence, presently the Chinese Government is encouraging the shift from combustion to electric engines
The market for Inductive Wireless Charging can be categorized as a decently fragmented market with the presence of regional players in the global market. Although the established players in the market are investing in the product development strategy, these players are also anticipated to solidify their presence across the regions. Companies, such as Apple, Samsung, Sony, LG, Nokia, Huawei, Microsoft, Google, and Blackberry, are unveiling new-generation devices with in-built wireless charging capabilities. There are presently 18 car brands offering wireless charging in cars.
Companies such as Powermat and Powerkiss have deployed wireless chargers in over 1,500 locations in the U.S. and 1,000 locations in Europe, such as airports, hotels, restaurants, and cafes (according to 4E Electronic Devices and Network Annex). Due to the impressive performance of the automotive sectors, many inductive wireless charging manufacturers are expected to venture into partnerships and supply agreements with automotive OEM manufacturers active across the value chain.