Two things are certain. One is that charging electric cars is difficult. Owners need to hook their vehicles up at home, or find charging stations on the road. The other thing which is certain is that major car makers will eventually follow the Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) all electric luxury car business. Mercedes just announced that it will and Mercedes is working on a way for customers tocharge their cars wirelessly.
Mercedes partner in the wireless car charging business will be Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), which make much of the hardware and software which powers countless smartphones It has the R&D capacity to be at the top of its industry.
From management at the two companies:
Today, Daimler AG (DAI) and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated announced a strategic collaboration focused on pioneering innovation in the connected car. In the first phase of the collaboration, the companies will focus on transforming future vehicles with mobile technologies that enhance in-car experiences and vehicle performance such as 3G/4G connectivity, wireless charging technology for in-vehicle use and implementation of the Qualcomm Halo™ Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology. In addition, the companies are jointly assessing the application of Qualcomm Technology’s newly developed Automotive Solutions.
Qualcomm Technologies is collaborating with Daimler on its Wireless Power Transfer 2.0 high performance program for electric vehicles. The Qualcomm Halo WEVC technology provides high performance and high power in a small vehicle package that could allow Mercedes customers to charge their electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid EVs without ever having to plug them in. In addition, WiPower technology enables consumer electronics to charge wirelessly in-vehicle.
What the two companies did not say is when the service will be available for commercial use. This may be a problem since manufacturers from Toyota (NYSE: TM) to Ford (NYSE: F) to VW have small armies working on related projects. Their executives know their companies cannot afford to fall behind if electric cars move from the niche product category to the wholesale replacement of gas engines.
The electric car market is small and still faces many problems found in all early stage projects. Most significantly is the difficulty of charging the cars. Mercedes and Qualcomm mean to change that, but how soon?