Volvo Commences Pilot Testing of Wireless Charging Technology for Future EVs

Volvo Cars and its partners in the Swedish Nordic region have begun pilot tests of new wireless charging technology. It’s one of the many projects within the Gothenburg Green City Zone, an exclusive area in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden, that serves as a testbed for developing new and sustainable technologies. Volvo was part of the Gothenburg Green City Zone Initiative launch in 2021 to accelerate the development of new technologies in electrification, autonomous driving, shared mobility, vehicle connectivity, and safety.

“Gothenburg Green City Zone lets us try exciting new technologies in a real environment and evaluate them over time for a potential future broader introduction,” said Mats Moberg, head of Research and Development at Volvo Cars.

Three-Year Pilot Run

The vehicles in question are a small fleet of Volvo XC40 Recharge EV taxis by Cabonline, Sweden’s largest taxi operator. Volvo and Cabonline will operate their EV taxis in a three-year pilot run. The wireless charging stations in Gothenburg are courtesy of Momentum Dynamics. “Testing new charging technologies together with selected partners is a good way to evaluate alternative charging options for our future cars,” Moberg added.

Volvo said the EVs will begin charging automatically when the vehicle parks over a charging pad on the street. It also means drivers need not get out of the car and fiddle with pesky charging cords to replenish the batteries, a great convenience during icy winters.

Furthermore, the XC40 Recharge taxis will roam the streets of Sweden for up to 12 hours a day to rack up more than 62,000 miles (100,000 km) per year on the odometer. Volvo’s pilot test run is the first durability testing of Volvo EVs in a commercial usage scenario, said the automaker.

Volvo Wireless Charging: How It Works

Volvo is not the first major automaker to dabble in wireless charging technology for electric vehicles. German auto giant BMW initiated a wireless charging pilot program in 2019 to selected residents of California for its 530e plug-in hybrid sedan. However, Volvo and Momentum Dynamics’ wireless charger is a more potent version of BMW and Qmerit’s wireless charging pad.

Technically speaking, both technologies rely on a ground-installed charging pad and a receiver under the car. What’s different is the power output. Volvo claims up to 40 kW of charging power, making it four times faster than a wired 11 kW AC charger and just as fast as a wired 50 kW DC fast charger. On the flip side, BMW’s wireless charger is suitable for 3.2 kW of power, which is enough to replenish a PHEV with a 9.2 kWh battery pack in under 3.5 hours.

It seems the future not only involves wireless charging for our many electronic devices. We can expect future EVs to recharge wirelessly without penalizing charging times and efficiency if all goes to plan.