Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles: A Game-Changer
Welcome to The Green New Perspective, your go-to podcast to learn about cleantech, nature tech, and agritech's breakthrough solutions and the marketing strategies used to accelerate growth. We invite you to learn from and be inspired by the game changers, the disruptors, and the pioneers who are redefining our future. This episode is proudly sponsored by New Perspective Marketing, a next-gen marketing agency working with cleantech clients. If you want to learn more about our sponsor, please check out the info below this video.
So what are we going to talk about in this episode? In a world where wireless charging has become indispensable for our smartphones, the concept of wireless EV charging has become a tangible reality. It's already operational in selected regions of Europe and Asia, and the United States are swiftly catching up. Among the companies working in this field is Hevo. They're reshaping the landscape of electric vehicle charging by eliminating the need for cords and connectors. So today we're talking to Vic Peltola, chief commercial officer at Hevo, about the future of dynamic charging, the challenges they're tackling, and their distinctive role in the EV industry. So tune in and learn more about Hevo's cutting-edge technology and its advantages that are changing the game in the EV charging industry.
Tune in and enjoy. Hello Victor and welcome to the Green New Perspective podcast. Pleasure to have you here. Good day, thanks for having me. And please, I go by Vic rather than Victor. It's only Victor when my mother used to get mad at me.
Okay, now Vic, can you tell us what Habbo does and why is that work important in the realm of sustainability? Sure. Let me introduce myself briefly. Vic Peltola, chief commercial officer at Hevo. I've been with Hevo over a year now. And very quickly, Hevo basically does electric vehicle wireless charging where a vehicle pulls over a pad and you put the vehicle in park and no cords, no connectors.
And it begins charging when you pull over the pad and put it in park. So it's a great, great technology for improved user experience for a luxury car driver or for fleet companies that don't want to have cord management friction, as we call it, difficulties in managing cords, etc. And Water, can you tell us about the advantages and the limitations of this technology compared to traditional plug-in charging methods? Sure. So if you could imagine pulling into a residential garage or residential driveway and being able to pull over the pad and simply get out of the vehicle and the vehicle begins charging. So let's say if you had a briefcase or a gym bag or children to manage or groceries or anything, you don't have to unfurl a cord and plug it in. It also eliminates hesitancy in charging. For example, somebody may pull into their garage and say, well,
I've got 30% of my battery life. I don't need to charge the car tonight. I don't want to mess with a cord. The vehicle's wet. I just don't want to have the hassle of a cord and unfurling it and plugging it in. So and then it might drop a few degrees overnight. Now you wake up and now the vehicle only has 20% battery life due to the effect of cold environment on battery technology and battery chemistry. Now you've got 20%. Now you've got range anxiety the next day when you can't get to where you need to go because of that decision not to plug in the night before. So
we see that as, for example, always being topped off, always being charged without any friction, without any decision making, pull over the pad. So that's like a residential application of wireless charging technology. When you move into like fleet vehicles, let's just say Amazon electric vehicle van delivery vehicles, when those vehicles pull into a fleet yard at the end of the second shift, let's say 10 o'clock at night, and then that third shift, they're doing loading of the next day's run onto the van. Amazon in these fleet depots want to be able to pull into a spot without having to have the driver or a charge attendant come out and plug the vehicle in. Now keep in mind that there's no standard location for the location of a plug-in on these electric vehicle vans. Some are in the
front. Some are directly in the front near the grill, what used to be called the grill of the vehicle. Some are in the front right quarter panel left, etc., etc. So it's very difficult to have these cords dangling all around these depots. And when we show this technology of fleet depot managers and they say, really you can just pull the vehicle over a pad at the docking location and it'll charge overnight while we're loading these vehicles up for a 5 a.m. start of delivery service. So that's another use case that has pain points and solutions to pain points. Another application is people with disabilities. For a person with a wheelchair or a
cane or a walker, asking them to furl and unfurl a cord and get the cord to where it needs to be, whether it's in a private residence or out in the public. There might be a parking block or a curb that they've got to navigate over to get the cord and bring the cord to the charge port and manage that. And sometimes that's extremely difficult for people with disabilities. So at the end of the day, there's a lot of use cases for this technology that's going to solve problems, solve pain points and become more ubiquitous in the future relative to adoption of the technology. Well, the adoption is growing rapidly, but there are still barriers for mass adoption. So how do you address the issue of charging infrastructure? Sure. So one of the main barriers is adoption by automakers and putting the hardware on the vehicle
and making them capable of wireless charging. And I use the analogy that the cell phone industry, it took Apple eight generations, iPhone eight, before they had embedded the hardware for wireless charging in the software, the Qi software on the phones, before they could have it integrated into the phone itself. And there were things that built up to that relative to standardization. There were camps that wanted Qi, there were camps that wanted PMA. So there wasn't a standard developed in the cell phone industry until eventually Qi came out
on top and there's an agreement between all of the cell phone manufacturers to adopt Qi as the communication protocol between the handheld device, the mobile phone, and the charging pad. So that was a big step. And the reason I tell that story is the barriers for adoption are being addressed by the Society of Automotive Engineers, SAE, which is a industry group that sets standards in the automotive industry. And they've created a set of standards that they've been working on for about 10 years now that address all of the things I just talked about. They don't,
we want to avoid a bake-off, as I call it, in the marketplace of VHS versus Betamax, right? That goes back several decades, but that took place and then VHS won out. That Qi and PMA is another great example. And most recently the CCS, the common charging system, versus the NACS, North American charging system bake-off that took place. And now we're finding the North American charging system, NACS, that was developed by Tesla is a better user experience on the charging cord and the charging port and plug. So SAEs do a great job of establishing interoperable standards. So no matter the make of the vehicle, the charging system that's on the vehicle, the wireless charging system that's on the underside of the vehicle, and the grid ground side equipment, it's all interchangeable. Very similar to an iPhone today. You put it into a
Toyota vehicle in the center console and it charges. You put it into a GM vehicle, it charges, etc., etc. So that's on the, of course, the brought-in device, the mobile device inside the in-cabin of the vehicle. But that's very true now for the SAE standards that are being set for electric vehicle wireless charging. So they're setting the table for success of this technology
to avoid this confusion of, do I have a charging system that's adaptable? Do I need another software system to manage the interface, etc., etc. So that standardization that SAE has worked on and is buttoned up is going to create an environment of ease of adoption amongst automakers. Yeah, you mentioned standards and certifications, so how do you ensure safety and efficiency of this wireless technology? That's also part of the SAE standards. SAE doesn't want to release a standard where charging wirelessly is less effective than a corded plug in system. So on a corded plug in system, when you when you have a let's say a wall charger with a 25 foot cord, and a connector system, a plug, there's efficiency between the grid and the vehicle that's lost in that 25 foot cord, a resistive factors, as well as that connector system, right? So the the wireless charging system, SAE wants to have the same level of efficiency.
We'll just talk in very round numbers. Grid to vehicle with a corded plug in system is about 90% efficient. And wireless charging in the SAE standard says wireless needs to be within a couple percent of that of that equivalent, right? So in this green environment, SAE doesn't want to release a standard that says, oh, yeah, you can have 30% loss in a in a in a technology where we're we're working on decarbonization. Right. So that all makes sense.
So in wireless charging, so that SAE standard says that it needs to be basically equivalent to a corded plug in system. So that's one area. The other area is the alignment of the vehicle over the pad. That's another big question that comes up. And that alignment we've integrated into the design of the system and the software where we've got a feature where the as the vehicle pulls over the pad, it confirms that you are aligned properly to reach that 90% efficiency. So that's that incorporates.
The other question was relative to safety. Very good question. Back when microwaves came out back in the 60s and 70s, people said, well, if I've got a pacemaker, am I going to, you know, be affected by standing in front of the microwave? And again, SAE has set standards for safety relative to EMI, EMC. Some degrees are. Sorry for interrupting you when I said to my colleagues that we're going to have you as a guest, they pretty much had the same reaction like you just mentioned. Yeah. So, yeah.
So the the S.A.E. has set that standard, too. It won't interfere with other devices. It won't interfere with health, et cetera, et cetera. So like I said, S.A.E. has done a great job of setting the standard. And we've gone through, HEVO has gone through testing using T.E.K., a firm that measures
EMI, EMF around the vehicle during a charging sequence to make sure that we've we're meeting the standard. So we've done some early validation to make sure that our system is safe and it's efficient at the end of the day. Well, thank you. I think that my colleagues are going to find the answer to their questions when they listen to this podcast.
As you know, we are a marketing agency, so I have to ask you, well, marketing plays a vital role in raising awareness about sustainable technologies, especially if they're new. So how do you approach the marketing efforts to reach and engage with target audiences, both consumers and industry stakeholders? Sure. Working with automakers, we've reached out to the top 15, 20 automakers around the world of this technology. So creating awareness of the availability of this technology and the technical readiness to demonstrate that this technology is ready for production. It's ready to be put on
vehicles. Now automakers have been dealing with a multitude of charging issues. Everything from, I mentioned earlier, the decision to go from CCS to NACS to poor charging infrastructure uptime to, you know, asking themselves, do we go into an agreement with Tesla on using their fast charging systems, et cetera, et cetera. So they've been working on fast charging. They've been working on the decision on the NACS, et cetera. So our wireless technology now has a clear vision on the horizon for adoption. As they get these other technical pain points behind them, now they can look at a more optimal user experience for everybody. So working with automakers is one go-to-market area. We also want to create an awareness in the consumer space. So we've been
using a lot of social media to advance the concept to create awareness of the EV consumers. We attend trade shows. We're doing podcasts like this. We do a lot of work on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or now X. And we want to make sure that the consumer now, when they go to a dealer, they can say, well, yeah, I want to buy an electric vehicle. And I've seen this technology. How do I get this wireless technology? So then that creates a demand at the consumer, and then the dealer, and then back to the automaker. So as we're working with automakers,
we want to see these go-to-market and creating awareness come together where automakers say, hey, look, the consumer wants this technology. Let's deliver it to them. Again, much like, I'll use again that analogy with the iPhone, iPhone 8. If you remember, there were aftermarket companies that were creating jackets or covers with a little magnetic disc on the back of them with interconnects that you could put on a pad and get a charge.
And then finally, Apple and Samsung and the other large cell phone manufacturers said, hey, let's embed this technology. Let's come up with a standard. And today, a lot of people use that feature of wireless technology and eliminate the need to plug in every night. And again, I mentioned earlier about this always be charged or always topped off. So in the evening, I've got my Apple earbuds, my Apple iPhone, and my Apple watch on a Belkin charger.
And when I wake up first thing in the morning, everything's topped off, and I know I'm going to get through a day. I don't have range anxiety. So it's the same kind of concept in wireless charging for electric vehicles. So, as you know, for sure, the market for electric vehicles and sustainable solutions overall becomes more competitive, so how do you differentiate the brand and messaging to stand out from other players in the industry? Well, we we would like to think that we could be first to market with this technology based on our technical readiness. And we're working with automakers. And I can talk publicly about our relationship with Stellantis, the fourth largest automaker in the world. And some of the brands within Stellantis, for example, in Europe is Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat, Maserati, Opel.
So they've got a lot of brands in Europe, and they're very well accelerated in the electrification in Europe. And then in North America, you've got the Jeep brands, the Chrysler brands, the Dodge brands, et cetera, here in North America. And we've been working now with Stellantis for over two years on integrating our technology out of the vehicle to create an opportunity where they can hit the button and adopt the technology on a future platform. And then we would go into a production cycle with them and take it into production, either as a standard feature or a optional feature. When somebody orders a car at a dealership, they could check the box that says, I want wireless charging on my vehicle. And when we talk with dealers, dealers are encouraged by this technology because they get to sell the grid groundside equipment to the individual.
So now they they they have a upside relative to value add on the sale of a vehicle. And they do that today with level two charging for home installation. But this would be a feature that would be in demand, we believe, beyond a beyond a corded system in our price points.
We want to make sure our price points of the cost on the vehicle are within reason, and we understand cost and weight is very important in the auto industry, on the vehicle side, and then the grid groundside equipment. We want to be affordable to the consumer so they can say, yes, I'll check the box. I want this wireless technology in my driveway, in my garage, et cetera, et cetera.
So that work with Stellantis has been has been evolving and accelerating. In fact, they've recently had a press release. Stellantis has a division called Free to Move Charging, and they've mentioned wireless charging on the horizon of their technology roadmap for for future opportunities. So that's great to see.
And wireless charging is being talked more about in the last six months than ever before. Relative to adoption of the technology, the Department of Transportation as the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a proposed bill for two hundred and fifty million dollars to be invested in the grid groundside equipment.
For wireless charging, et cetera. So it's starting to it's starting to percolate into a reality, which is great to see. Thank you. Well, what emerging technologies or trends do you see shaping the future of sustainable transportation and how do you see Havel positioning itself to capitalize on that development? Yeah, maybe we should talk a little bit about dynamic charging.
So there's the opportunity to embed wireless charging into roads, meaning under asphalt and under cement, where a vehicle can drive over a stretch of road and pick up a charge. So if you could imagine in the future on freeways, a lane devoted to wireless charging, where a vehicle can drive over that stretch of road and pick up a charge. And they've done calculations and simulations where you could pick up approximately 60 miles of range over a one mile stretch of charging pads embedded in the road at about 60 miles an hour.
So now with those calculations, theoretically, you'd never have to stop for a charge, which is a game changer, right? So yeah, dynamic charging is it is a next generation opportunity. And if you think about it for fleet vehicles, for trucks over the highway, trucking and not being able, you know, and to be able to dynamically charge and not have to pull off to the side of the road and take 20 minutes to charge every 200 miles is a is a big game changer. Yeah. And ideally, if you could run a solar farm next to that charging, now you have a total green environment for decarbonization and optimization of a charging system. That sounds really, really awesome. I always ask my guests, what are potential challenges that you anticipate within the five to 10 years, but also opportunities like the one that you mentioned now, maybe there are some others that we can talk about as well.
Well, that wireless charging, compared to what we call high dwell time or overnight charging where you have six, eight hours, for example, for a passenger car, you can charge in your garage, in your driveway, in your workplace, where you're setting static or standing, or the vehicles in a parked arrangement, six, eight hours, it could always be topped off, not a problem. That infrastructure is very affordable, easy to install, easy to maintain, et cetera. When you start getting into these high powered dynamic charging, keep in mind now you're going to have to work with the Department of Transportation, you're going to have to work with a grid supplier, your public utility companies, you got to install it, you got to figure out how, when a vehicle pulls over, that individual pays for it. So there's a lot of infrastructural costs and a lot of stakeholders that need to be pulled together in that next generation dynamic charging space.
So those are some of the hurdles that need to be pulled together in working with multiple stakeholders, pulling them together and saying, yes, this technology is feasible, now it's a matter of integrating it into a convenient, safe way that is cost effective at the end of the day. And my last question for you is looking back, is there anything you would have done differently or any lessons learned that you have significantly influenced the company's trajectory that you would maybe like to share with other well-important players within the climate tech, nature tech, biotech space? Yeah so this circles back to my little introduction. I've been in the automotive business for over 35 years and I was early on in my career on anti-lock brake technology, ABS, back in the 80s. That was only a three to five percent installation on luxury vehicles
and then it moved through the traction control, adding traction control, adding vehicle stability control or ESP, electronic stability program, roll control, and then complete chassis control. So that technology has a technology roadmap as an example. And then during my career at TRW I was in the airbag technology side and that went from driver airbag to passenger airbag to curtain airbag to rollover airbag to knee bolster to thorax airbags and then advanced deployment techniques on electronics as well as advanced seat belt technologies. So I've been in these technologies at the front end of these technologies and seeing those into production and high volume production scale production. So I was a perfect fit for Hevo early on taking this into
a production environment. So that is a that experience that I've had in the past is very applicable to Hevo and this wireless charging technology. And at the end of the day we need to be very conscientious of our development in our technical roadmap. So yes, once
a wireless charging is adopted and let's say a residential or workplace charging, then what is on the horizon for faster charging wireless as well as dynamic charging. So we've got a roadmap and if there's one thing that I could say is to pull off becoming a production supplier in automotive, you've got to work on partnerships. You've got to have partnerships developed with machine builders, with chip makers, with advancing technologies, etc. So if I could turn back the clock three or four years back, I would have a more concentration on pulling partnerships together to make sure that we are production ready. But we're at that point and we'll be able to pull this off. But I would have liked to been part of the team and bring in that automotive experience earlier to accelerate our development cycle.
Well, Vic, thank you for being our guest on the Green New Perspective podcast. If you have anything to add to our audience, now is the time, or maybe to mention your social media, Hilo Social Media, that you mentioned that you have before for educating people about wireless charging. Yeah, again, awareness on the consumer side is very important.
Awareness with the automakers is very important. So so awareness is key. And in in in, you know, it's not a matter of if this technology is going to be adopted and gone to mass market. It's a it's a matter of when.
And we'd like to think that within the next 36 months that we'll be in a production contract with the automaker going into production and upfitting vehicles with this technology. So people will be able to ask for that grid groundside equipment installed in their garage, driveway, workplace, parking garages, et cetera. And we're ready to scale production. That's great. Thank you. All right. Thank you very much.
We've come to an end of another episode of Green New Perspective Podcast. Thank you for tuning in to today's episode. I hope you enjoyed the conversation with Vic and gained some knowledge about wireless EV charging. If you like what you heard and want to stay updated on our latest episodes, don't forget to hit that subscribe button. Subscribing is the best way to ensure you never miss out on our future content.
It's quick and easy and it helps us to continue to bring you fantastic guests and engaging discussions. And hey, if you find this podcast helpful, consider sharing it with your friends, family, and colleagues. We appreciate your support and together we can grow our community of curious minds. So thank you once again, and until next time, bye.