WiTricity, the Massachusetts company that is a world leader in wireless charging technology, announced this week that it has just raised $63 million in its latest funding round led by Siemens, which contributed $25 million. Other investors included the Japan Energy Fund, Mirae Asset Capital, returning investors Stage One, Airwaves Wireless Electricity, and Delta Electronics, among others.
“WiTricity has built a true technology platform supported by a robust patent portfolio and global automotive standards,” said Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity. “This new capital will allow us to accelerate product to market for both passenger and commercial wireless charging, and speed the development of our unique always-available wireless V2G capabilities allowing parked EVs to return power to the grid.”
Created as an MIT spinoff in 2007, the company’s mission is to commercialize the use of magnetic resonance to transmit power over distance at any power level. It now holds more than 1,250 patents, including those acquired when the company purchased the assets of Qualcomm Halo in 2019. WiTricity is now expanding beyond licensing to deliver full wireless charging solutions for its customers including global OEMs fleets, chargepoint operators, and end users.
“With the recent increase in EV uptake in Japan, we see a strong need for technologies that offer simple charging solutions for drivers,” said Yohei Kiguchi, Founder and CEO of Japan Energy Fund and ENECHANGE Ltd. “WiTricity’s technology does exactly that. We are confident that wireless charging will be a gamechanger, and by inspiring more consumers to choose EVs over traditional combustion engines, lead to further decarbonization.”
In a recent survey, 96% of EV buyers indicated they want wireless charging capabilities on their next EV, which ranked significantly higher than other common options, including parking assist, autonomous driving capability, and interior or exterior design.
“EV ownership in the US is still among ‘early adopters,'” said David Baum of Stage 1 Ventures. “Wireless charging will accelerate that adoption by mainstream consumers by eliminating the hassle of charging.”Jonathan Hwang of Mirae Asset Capital, says, “WiTricity’s wireless charging is a key component to truly reinventing the driving experience with electric cars. Korean drivers expect genuine innovation for great convenience, safety, and accessibility, and wireless charging will provide just that.”
With this new investment round completed, WiTricity will shift to production for fleets of all sizes — passenger vehicles, light duty trucks, and heavy commercial vehicles — at a variety of energy levels. Wireless charging will play a key role in the transition to autonomous vehicles and to supporting grid stability with wireless vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies.
WiTricity technology spans from milliwatts to kilowatts and can be found today in products from consumer electronics to industrial robotics. Most recently, WiTricity has licensed its technology to Wiferion, a leading solution provider for mobile, wireless power supplies for industrial e-vehicles. The applications of WiTricity technology beyond EVs are limitless with licensees already producing products such as wirelessly charged factory robots, e-scooters and e-bikes.
“For decades we’ve eliminated wires from people’s lives, from mobile phones to wifi. The last wires to be eliminated are for charging EVs, eScooters, eBikes, factory automation and other products,” said Kenneth Horowitz of Air Waves Wireless Electricity and one of the founders of the cellular telephone industry. “WiTricity will remove these last wires for an untethered future.”
Change always seems to take forever to get here and then all of a sudden, it’s everywhere. When I renovated my house in the 90s, I was careful to embed wires for telephones lines, speakers, and internet in the walls before I put new sheetrock up because that’s what people did back then.
Now my TV signal is provided wirelessly by my internet router, my phone sends me Google alerts wirelessly wherever I am in the world, and my car updates its brain wirelessly every few weeks. Wireless charging is so clearly the next step in the EV revolution, there will come a day in the not to distant future when our grandchildren will look at us with amazement when we tell them we used to plug our cars in.
The only constant in life is change. The truly exciting aspect of wireless charging is that it will support bi-directional operation, making vehicle to home and vehicle to grid operation as simple as pulling into your driveway or garage and parking. The future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades. We can’t wait!
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