Set to debut in Zhengzhou, China on the Xiaoyu 2.0 autonomous minibus, WiTricity will launch the first-ever commercial application of wireless charging for an autonomous electric e-bus. YuTong Bus, which is the top bus brand in China, has level 4 autonomous buses in its fleet that are capable of seating 10 passengers. Each bus has an all-electric range of 150 kilometers or about 93 miles.
WiTricity’s Halo chargers eliminate the need to plug in, which is particularly useful in commercial applications. As more self-driving shuttles and buses get deployed worldwide, this type of wireless charging technology will play an integral role in minimizing the downtime associated with charging. Plus, it helps reduce the risk of commercial drivers getting injured having to maneuver heavy and awkward charging cables.
In August 2021, the company began testing its wireless charging technology on taxis in Nottingham, England. The initiative, called The Wireless Charging of Electric Taxis (WiCET) demonstration, is funded by the U.K. government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles. In the trial, electric taxis have been fitted with wireless charging built by Lumen Freedom, a WiTricity licensee. This allows taxis to recover some of their range while waiting for their next fare.
For those of us who own a BEV, you can probably imagine the convenience of wireless charging at your own home. Simply park inside your garage each day, and you won’t have to remember to plug in your charger, allowing you to top off your car’s battery pack without thinking twice. You can learn more about WiTricity’s wireless charging technology here.
“We are so excited to see this first real demonstration with YuTong Bus of wireless charging powering autonomy at scale,” said Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity. “As autonomy progresses, the logistics of charging and servicing will become even more critical. WiTricity wireless EV charging can enable the next generation of electrified transportation and logistics.”