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Look – no wires!

The new format for replenishing lost energy by induction.

Your battery dies on you? What now? As a citizen of the mobile world, it’s easy to fall into the battery trap. If you look at it realistically, power banks are only a stopgap technology. This is why Daimler is reinventing the concept of mobile energy.

Homo digitalis.

The smartphone is our constant companion. We let it wake us every morning. We flick through our schedule for the day and catch up on the latest tweets, the weather, our likes and what’s going on in the world. It makes us reachable 24/7, and is our interactive gateway to the world. It keeps us up to date on everything, takes pictures, plays videos and reads the emails and newsletters we receive. Only with a smartphone can we become a paid-up member of the digital community and take the next evolutionary step – from Homo Sapiens to Homo digitalis.

But beware of the battery trap. Optimum use of mobile devices demands constant activation of mobile LAN and positioning services like GPS. Navigation and ridesharing services are the first things that come to mind. The fastest and surest way to flatten your battery. You are suddenly locked out of the connected world – at least until you find a charger.

Fast food meets fast charging.

Kentucky Fried Chicken has added a simple solution to this problem to its menu for customers in India. The ‘Watt A Box’ includes the usual chicken & fries – and a 6100 mAh powerbank with a charging cable for smartphones. While you enjoy your meal, your mobile enjoys a special portion of fresh battery power. A clever bit of advertising, but charging with a powerbank is not exactly rocket science.

Power doping.

Smartphones have long since done away with the need for an umbilical cord to a phone network. Wireless LAN is the gateway to the web. The plug has finally been pulled. It’s not because we don’t need the power, it’s because we now have wireless charging. All you need is an induction station that converts magnetic fields into electric power. The principle is already familiar from small, rechargeable devices like electric toothbrushes. 5 to 15 W are on tap almost everywhere you find a wireless charging station. At airports, in hotels or in your own home. But why can’t they be everywhere? What would the world be like if we could recharge our mobile on a supermarket trolley? How could induction charging be used to create added value for customers?

Low power induction charging is gaining ground. But what if you want to recharge the battery of your electric car instead of your smartphone? Most of us are familiar with small e-car charging stations and Tesla Super Chargers and their frequently filthy cables. How about a little more convenience? How about wireless power for the next trip you take?

Look – no wires!

In collaboration with BMW, Mercedes-Benz has now taken e-car power charging to previously unknown heights. 3.6 KW with induction. That’s really something. For this, a primary coil is installed in the roadbed and a secondary coil is located on the chassis of the vehicle. All the driver has to do now is park the vehicle over the coil in the ground to wirelessly recharge the vehicle battery.
The efficiency is around 90%. This must almost certainly the most convenient way to recharge the vehicle’s high-voltage battery. In 2015, Mercedes-Benz began a pilot project to test wireless recharging technology with a modified fleet of their current S 500 e models. The system installed is scheduled to be available as a special accessory package in 2017. Then we can all enjoy the convenience and simplicity of Park & Charge.

If the plans of the Fraunhofer Institute come to fruition, data will flow together with the electric power. Whether this can join Bluetooth and near field technologies as a viable option is still in the stars. Let’s wait and see.