Axios Pro: Climate Deals

May 03, 2023

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🐪 Happy Wednesday!

🎥 Today in clean-energy pop-culture moments: John David Washington's character in "Tenet" apparently holes up at the Nysted Wind Farm off the coast of Denmark before his adventures in time travel.

1 big thing: Wireless chargers hit the production line

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, Alan writes.

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

  • Alan road his e-bike to the company's headquarters in Watertown, Mass., to check out the latest.

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

  • The ramp-up marks a transition from licensing to production.

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 coalesced around a set of standards for wireless charging, removing a 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: If you think forgetting to defrost the chicken for dinner is bad, potential EV buyers are especially concerned about family forgetting to plug in the car, per a survey WiTricity shared with Alan.

Separately, 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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