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McLaren adopts Australian wireless charging tech for Speedtail hypercar

Australian manufacturer Lumen Freedom has supplied its first wireless charging system to McLaren Automotive, which will use the inductive charger for its hybrid Speedtail hypercar.

The wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) system means that the car can be charged without requiring any cabled connection, making it easy and unobtrusive to use.

The car simply needs to be driven over the base pad, which is connected to a wall box, and energy will be inductively transferred to the vehicle pad – charging its on-board battery.

“The main purpose of it is to keep the battery conditioned,” said Dr Roozbeh Bonyadi, power electronics principal engineer at McLaren.

“So, whenever you want to take the car out for a 0-400km/h run, or whatever you like to do with the car, the battery is fully charged and ready for that.”

Lumen Freedom, which is based in Melbourne, says that wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) will become more popular in the future.

Aside from its straightforward and user-friendly nature, the system is also claimed to offer performance equal or greater to that of cabled systems. 

There are other potential benefits to wireless charging, such as a reduction of visual clutter.

Lumen Freedom currently offers an 11kW “single box” solution, which features the coils, power electronics and communications system in one charging pad, that would be less visually prominent than a conventional charging point.

A more powerful fast-charging pad rated at 22kW is available, while Lumen’s system offers a clearance capacity of over 300mm – making it suitable for use with everything from conventional sedans to SUVs. As well as hypercars.

Lumen is also working towards providing wireless charging systems that will work while a vehicle is stopped momentarily, passing by or driving along.

The introduction of public wireless chargers would benefit the future development and introduction of autonomous vehicles, which could seek out and access wireless facilities without any interaction.

More manufacturers are considering the technology, too; Volkswagen, for example, has engineered its new modular electric drive (MEB) platform to support wireless charging. 

Lumen Freedom, which is part of the larger automotive systems-supplying Lumen Group, licences its wireless charging technology from United States-based company WiTricity.

The American wireless power transfer specialist, which was founded in 2007, provides Lumen Freedom with technology, intellectual property and industrial support. 

“The future of EV charging is wireless,” said Alex Gruzen, chief executive officer of WiTricity.

“Lumen Freedom’s readiness to deploy wireless charging systems in the market in 2020 is a very exciting prospect for WiTricity and for the industry.”