Toyota’s Plug-In Prius Soon Unplugged?

Toyota is working on its own wireless charging system for the plug-in version of the Prius.

The company has announced verification testing is to begin later this month.

Toyota explained the new technology allows a vehicle to be charged simply by parking it in alignment with a coil set into the surface of the ground. This makes the process simpler and easier, dispensing with cables and connectors.

No, Toyota did not say if it will still identify the Prius Plug-In Hybrid with that moniker.

Toyota stated the charging system transmits electricity using magnetic resonance created by changes in magnetic field intensity between a transmitting coil in the ground and a receiving coil in the car. It is designed so that it can reduce losses in power transmission efficiency caused by misalignment or height differences between the coils.

The system is being developed with a future market launch in mind. The traditionally conservative company did not mention any time frame, but previous reports have suggested 2015 as the year for redesign opt both the PHEV and Prius Liftback.

Toyota added measures have been taken to minimize any electromagnetic interference with nearby equipment, and the transmitting coil in the ground has been made strong enough to withstand vehicles driving over it.

To help the driver align the car correctly, Toyota said it has developed a function for its Intelligent Parking Assist system that shows the position of the transmitting coil in a parking space.

The test program involves three plug-in hybrid used by homes in Aichi prefecture in Japan. Toyota explained it will assess user satisfaction; the system’s ease of use, misalignment rates and charging behavior, such as how often charging takes place and timer-based charging it used.

Toyota stated it believes the  commercialization of such a system will help promote the use of electrified vehicles and mobility options that are smarter, easier to use and kinder to the environment.

Wireless Battery Charging System key specifications:

Charging method: Magnetic resonance

Frequency: 85 kHz

Input voltage: AC 200 volts

Charging power: 2 kilowatt

Charging time: Approx. 90 minutes