BERLIN, GERMANY – Daimler AG said it will soon test wireless inductive charging on a modified Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL. The electric car will be fitted with a special charging coil that can be positioned over a charging coil in the ground to start the charging process automatically, with no need for cable contact.
"We are keen to find out how the inductive charging process proves in daily use," said Herbert Kohler, head of e-drive and future mobility in the Research and Advance Development department at Daimler AG. "We have already demonstrated the essential feasibility of the technology. The experience in day-to-day use will now provide important pointers for the further course of development. A number of technical and financial issues also need to be resolved before we can really assess the marketability of this technology."
The modified Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL will be deployed in March 2012. This inductive charging trial will be part of a larger energy-efficiency project that was inaugurated in Berlin last week by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In this project, an energy-efficient house will generate more electricity than it needs, leaving a surplus of energy to recharge battery-powered electric vehicles. The entire building has been designed for energy efficiency. Both inductive and cable-based charging devices are integrated into the house’s architecture. A family of four will live at the house on an experimental basis for 15 months, beginning in March 2012. During their stay at the house, family members will use various electric vehicles in daily life.
In addition to the Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL with the inductive charging option, Daimler AG will provide two other battery-powered electric vehicles for around three months: the second-generation smart fortwo electric drive and the smart ebike.
Daimler will also oversee installation of the necessary charging infrastructure at the house, providing a wall box for conductive charging with a cable and a charging coil for inductive charging in the carport. The family will also be able to charge all the vehicles at public charging stations or by plugging them into a standard domestic power outlet.
The project's Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL can be charged either by cable or inductively. The latter involves non-contact transmission of the charging current by means of an electromagnetic field. For this purpose, both the vehicle and the parking space at the house are fitted with corresponding coils. A special display system helps the driver to maneuver the vehicle into the ideal position over the charging coil.
In cooperation with Conductix-Wampfler and Röchling Automotive KG, Daimler has already developed a prototype version of this technology and demonstrated its effectiveness in a project sponsored by the Federal Ministry of the Environment. The new project, known as "Effizienzhaus-Plus mit Elektromobilität," will provide a thorough test of the technology’s application in everyday use.