Could inductive charging of electric vehicles take off?

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Intensive research has boosted the profile of the nascent electric vehicles (EVs) inductive charging market globally. As various verticals such as telecom, industrial automation, and utilities establish their presence in this domain, market participants will increasingly partner with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) at the testing phase to enhance the value of their products.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that the total market for inductive charging is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 126.6 percent from 2012 to 2020, with about 351,900 units likely to be sold. Inductive charging will account for 1.2 percent of both public and residential charging in North America and more than 2.6 percent in Europe. Residential charging will be the most popular method, accounting for more than 70 percent of the overall charging.

The market for inductive charging will grow the fastest in Europe, owing to a number of demonstration projects conducted by government bodies, OEMs, and charging station manufacturers.

"OEMs such as Renault, Nissan, Daimler, Volvo, BMW and Toyota are working on the development of inductive charging for future EVs, and more than 10 automakers have announced trial tests," said Frost & Sullivan Automotive and Transportation Senior Research Analyst Prajyot Sathe. "As a result, inductive charging will soon be available in cars either as an additional feature or as an inbuilt feature."

Currently, inductive charging is offered as an aftermarket solution with attractive financing options. Yet, the cost of purchasing and installing an inductive charging solution is approximately 30 percent higher than that of conductive charging. The time taken to charge is also longer, reducing the feasibility of what would otherwise be the most convenient way of charging EVs.

To overcome these challenges, market participants from across the value chain are partnering with OEMs to gain further opportunities for research and development. Large companies are acquiring smaller companies to strengthen their product portfolio.

"While in the short-term 3.3 kilowatts inductive charging will be widely accepted to enable residential and semi-public charging, with time, vehicles will tilt towards 6.6 kW to enable faster charging," noted Sathe. "Inductive charging in stationary applications too will be most sought after in the near-term, whereas dynamic or on-the-move charging will gain traction post-2020."

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