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Innovative NZ wireless electric vehicle charging technology takes major step forward following US deal

Innovative wireless electric vehicle charging technology created by a team at the University of Auckland has taken a major step forward with the announcement in San Diego, United States today that Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Lear Corporation (NYSE:LEA), a leading global supplier of automotive seating and electrical systems, have entered into a Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) license agreement.
 
Lear will be including Qualcomm Halo™ WEVC technology in its product portfolio to commercialise WEVC systems for Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) and Electric Vehicles (EV) manufacturers, as well as wireless charging infrastructure companies. 

Will Charles, GM Technology and Development for UniServices, the University’s commercial research, knowledge transfer and custom education company, says that this announcement represents a major step towards clean, green electric vehicles being a common sight on our roads by the end of the decade.

“We are really excited to see this development as it puts NZ technology on the map and will bring commercial benefits to the University through our partnership with Qualcomm, and represents another milestone in the relationship we have had with Qualcomm since 2011.” comments Mr Charles.

Two University of Auckland professors, John Boys and Grant Covic, pioneered wireless or inductive power transfer technology (IPT).  In 1986 the team were the first in the world to make power jump efficiently and practically across air from one object to another by intersecting two magnetic fields.  

Their technology is used throughout the world, from factories that depend on automated systems or clean-room environments, to powering artificial hearts and charging electric vehicles (EV). They were awarded the 2013 Prime Minister’s Science Prize.

In 2011, a company set up to develop the IPT technology further for electric vehicles, was sold to Qualcomm Inc. Qualcomm has researchers based in Auckland working with the University team. Their aim is to refine the technology to enable drivers to charge up while on the move.

Qualcomm and Lear are collaborating on multiple WEVC production programmes across multiple car companies. 

“We are excited to be working closely with Lear as they commercialize Qualcomm Halo technology to bring WEVC charging into production,” says Steve Pazol, vice-president and general manager, Wireless Charging, Qualcomm Inc in a media statement today.

“With our success in EV and hybrid high power systems and proven program management capabilities we see wireless charging as a new opportunity to serve our customers in further developing their strategies for EVs in existing and new vehicle segments,” says Frank Orsini, senior vice president and president, Lear Electrical in the same media statement.