Tesvolt invests in development of cable-free EV supercharging


German commercial and industrial energy storage system manufacturer Tesvolt has acquired a “significant minority stake” in contactless electric vehicle (EV) charging business Stercom Power Solutions, and says it aims to develop a 44 kW charging product.

Untethered ‘inductive' charging – which involves power being transferred from a magnetic coil to a receiver coil in electric cars, buses and trucks – has been widely tipped to be the future of EV charging, Tesvolt said in a press release today, although the best inductive product on the market at present has only 3.2 kW of charging power.

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Wittenberg-based Tesvolt did not reveal how much it has invested in Bavarian firm Stercom – described in the press release as a “thinktank” – nor what proportion of the inductive charging business it now holds.

Quoted in the press statement, Tesvolt joint founder and commercial director Daniel Hannemann said Stercom's silicon carbide technology operates inductive charging at 95% efficiency and enables charging with up to 20cm between the transfer coils. The latter, according to Hannemann, is “something no other provider on the market has been able to do.”

In the “medium term” it may be possible to offer inductive supercharging at up to 200 kW, according to fellow Tesvolt founder, and chief technical officer, Simon Schandert. That level of performance would also mark a step change in performance for solar cars which top up battery reserves while the vehicle is in motion.

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The Tesvolt release said carmakers Audi and BMW are already installing inductive charging receiver coils in models and added, trial sections of road in Italy, France and Sweden have been fitted with sub-asphalt magnetic charging coils. BMW, said Tesvolt, has predicted blanket coverage of inductive charging – including in shopping mall forecourts, multi-storey car parks and at home – this decade.

While the short, fast bursts of charging offered by inductive transfer would mean EV batteries need only be half their current size and weight – according to Stercom founder and CEO Robert Sterff – such recharging places heavy demands on battery lifetimes.

As a result, said Sterff, extensive research is being made into the application of solid-state batteries, especially in Germany, with that technology said by the Stercom boss to be “particularly well suited” to inductive charging.

This copy was amended on 07/07/21 to include the statement Tesvolt had acquired a significant minority stake in Stercom.

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