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Checking in with wireless EV charging startup WiTricity

May 3, 2023
WiTricity CEO holds a light-up blue disk that helps demonstrate the company's wireless charging product.

WiTricity CEO Alex Gruzen at the company's headquarters outside Boston. Photo: Alan Neuhauser

Park, walk away, return to a full charge — wireless charging might be the most sought-after and elusive capability for electric vehicles.

Why it matters: One such developer in the U.S., WiTricity, is entering commercial production this year.

  • I road my e-bike to the company's headquarters in Watertown, Mass., down the road from my apartment, to check out the latest.

What's happening: WiTricity is initially targeting passenger and light-duty commercial fleets.

  • The manufacturing ramp-up marks a transition from licensing.

Meanwhile, Hyundai has adopted the tech for some of its vehicles in South Korea.

  • At 11 kw, the charger adds 30-35 miles per hour. That's faster than most Level 2 chargers, which tend to be 7 kw.

By the numbers: The company raised $63 million last August, anchored by $25 million from Siemens AG.

  • It anticipates another funding round next year. It's raised more than $200 million to date.

How it works: WiTricity boxes are installed in a car's undercarriage.

  • A driver steers into a normal-seeming parking spot. A charging pad either on the ground or beneath the surface then tops up the car.

Zoom out: Investment in EV charging of all types is on track to crest $100 billion this year, much of it driven by China.

  • Manufacturers have meanwhile coalesced around a set of standards for wireless charging, removing a major roadblock to adoption.

What we're watching: “When a market is all EVs, you shift from, ‘Should I buy an EV’ to ‘Which EV should I buy?’ feature-differentiation becomes really important,” Gruzen says.

Plus: Keep an eye on futuristic-seeming autonomous valet services, which enable garages to pack cars like sardines.

  • "Anyplace there’s autonomy you need autonomous chargers," Gruzen says.

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