Daimler and Qualcomm partnership drives automotive wireless charging market By David Green, Wireless Charging, IHS Technology



Key Points

  • IHS estimates that 57 thousand wireless-charging equipped vehicles were sold globally in 2014, but forecasts this will exceed 17.5 million vehicles in 2020.
  • Five of the top ten automotive manufacturers (Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford, Chevrolet and Mercedes-Benz ) globally have started fitting, or announced plans to start fitting, wireless charging technology into their vehicle range.
  • In the short-term, manufacturers are adopting in-cabin wireless charging pads to allow end-customers to charge consumer devices, such as their mobile phones.
  • Wireless charging of electric vehicle batteries is being investigated by some manufacturers, although this is unlikely to see an OEM launch until at least 2017.

IHS Analysis

This latest announcement from Qualcomm and Daimler means that all of the top three automotive manufacturers globally (Toyota, Volkswagen and Ford) and a further two from the top ten (Chevrolet and Mercedes-Benz) have shown intent towards wireless charging technology in the past few months.

We estimate that 57 thousand wireless-charging equipped vehicles were sold globally in 2014, but forecast this will exceed 17.5 million vehicles in 2020.

Market penetration of vehicle features follows a typical adoption curve in the automotive market, starting with optional or standard fitment on high-end models and grades before filtering down across a brand’s model range as each new generation is released. However, it’s interesting to see that both volume selling brands such as Toyota and Ford are pursuing this technology at the same time as more premium brands such as Daimler/Mercedes-Benz.

With 2015 proving to be a breakthrough year for wireless charging, this latest partnership between Daimler and Qualcomm provides yet more consumer and media attention for the emerging technology. There’s been a great deal of attention for both receiver applications, such as mobile phones, and for transmitter applications, such as in-cabin charging and wireless charging furniture. The entire ecosystem is receiving investment which is important for providing the end-consumer with the best overall experience of wireless charging technology.

Background

Qualcomm Technologies Inc and Daimler AG announced a strategic collaboration on Saturday 23rd May to develop wireless charging technology for automotive applications. This includes both in-car charging for consumer devices using Qualcomm WiPower technology, and the possibilities of wireless electric vehicle charging using the Qualcomm Halo WEVC technology solution. No timeline has yet been given for any likely introduction of either technology into the Daimler vehicle line-up. The other manufacturers pursuing wireless charging technology, referenced above, are summarised below:

  • Toyota first offered in-cabin charging on the 2013 Avalon, but announced in February 2015 that the Camry Special Edition would be equipped with a Qi-standard charging pad as standard. The Camry was the top selling vehicle in the United States during 2014.
  • Volkswagen Audi Group are most likely to introduce any wireless charging technology into the Audi model range first – with strong rumours that the Audi Q7 e-tron will be released in 2017 featuring wireless induction charging.
  • As IHS discussed last week, Ford hinted that in-cabin wireless charging will be coming soon during an interview with Forbes.com.
  • Under the General Motors group, both Chevrolet and Cadillac already offer in-cabin charging across a range of vehicles, including the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and 2015 Cadillac AT sport sedan.

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