Last summer, Tesla raised eyebrows when it acquired German wireless electric vehicle (EV) charging startup Wiferion for $76 million. The move signaled Tesla’s interest in exploring wireless charging capabilities, specifically for home use where convenience may outweigh efficiency. However, Tesla’s flirtation with Wiferion was short-lived. Just months after acquiring the company, Tesla sold it in an apparent acquihire deal.
Rather than obtaining Wiferion for its existing wireless technology, it seems Tesla was focused on acquiring the startup’s talent. Wiferion’s team likely provided valuable expertise in wireless charging that Tesla quickly integrated, though the company’s underlying technology faced challenges scaling to Tesla’s needs.
By tapping Wiferion’s knowledge then spinning the startup back out, Tesla was able to bolster its in-house wireless charging capabilities without a longer-term resource commitment.
While wireless EV charging still faces hurdles around efficiency and functionality, Tesla remains intrigued by its possibilities – when implemented by the right team.
Franz von Holzhausen, chief designer at Tesla, revealed in a recent interview with comedian Jay Leno that the electric vehicle company is working on wireless inductive charging technology. The technology would allow Tesla vehicles to charge simply by parking over a charging pad. Von Holzhausen stated, “You just pull into your garage, drive over the pad, and charging starts automatically.”
Though Tesla didn’t specify a timeline, it seems wireless charging will be available sooner than later.
While customers highly value the convenience of wireless charging, it is usually not very energy efficient. However, if Tesla could find ways to make wireless charging more efficient, such as by adding cooling elements to reduce heat which improves efficiency and safety, then it would be an attractive feature that provides both convenience and effective charging.