WPC chairman Menno Treffers believes that critical mass is on his
group's side. Already there are 8.5 million Qi-enabled products, covered
by 110 certified designs, in circulation. About 2 million of those are
in Japan according to WPC.
"In Japan Qi is definitely catching
on. NTT Docomo has said it will be in all its smartphones." Also,
Treffers said, Samsung includes a couple of pins in the battery
compartment of the Galaxy S3 ready for wireless charging.
Treffers argues that, ultimately, it will be the mobile phone makers and
mobile network operators that will define how wireless charging is
implemented. "The carriers and mobile phone companies don't want to be
locked-in or expected to pay patent license royalties. The Wireless
Power Consortium is royalty-free," he said.
"There will be a free market because an open standard is better than a proprietary situation," he added.
There is still one major name in mobile devices that is uncommitted and that has a history of doing things in a proprietary way.
Apple wants to do wireless charging they could go proprietary – like
the Apple connector. Similarly an Android standard could co-exist for a
while. But the charging market will end up converging to a single
standard," Treffers said.
Treffers is convinced the convenience
of wireless charging, and avoiding carrying multiple proprietary wired
chargers will eventually drive adoption. But he acknowledges there is a
trade-off between convenience and energy consumption, because wireless
charging cannot be 100 percent efficient.
energy transfer efficiencies are about 70 percent going up to 80 to 85
percent efficient with careful design, more copper and better shielding,
It is true that the gadget does not require a wal-mart charger any more, but the mat will require it. So, intead of manufacturers having to ship a wall-mart power supply with each gadget, they will now have to ship it with each mat. The problem remains, you will have to carry the right plugs for your mat power supply when you travel.
The point of wireless charging is that any wireless charging enabled product can be placed onto the mat to charge - there is no need to hunt around or carry around for the right wall-wart to charge each gadget you own. Nor is there any need for gadget manufacturers to ship a wall wart with every product, which is a waste of resources in my opinion, because when your gadget breaks or goes obsolete then so does its wall wart. The Qi initiative was to get us a standard way of wireless charging, but this is looking shakey now there are competing standards. Hoping Qi will win out soon.
I thought the same thing before I talked to the guys at CES that demo'd this with a Tesla Roadster. They said that with an integrated wireless charging system designed into the car, rather than an add-on like they had at CES, they could get 93% efficiency, and their gap distance between the mat and the secondary winding in the car was 4 inches, which is quite reasonable for that application.
7% loss is indeed significant when you're measuring power in kilowatts, but like I said, it might be worth it for the added convenience & safety.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the efficiency loss for wireless charging pretty sizable? That's irrelevant for charging a phone, but for charging a CAR? Not to mention that it is already difficult to deliver sufficient power to a car to charge it in a reasonable amount of time when wired; charging a car wirelessly makes that problem far worse.
I agree with you that wireless charging of a phone in the car is reasonable, but only for that minority for whom phones don't last through the day. I think the best solution to having a phone that needs to be charged during the day is to get a better phone, swap batteries, or get a case with additional battery capacity built in...
You don't always still have to plug a charger into the wall. You guys are missing an obvious one -- a wireless charging mat built into the center console of your car. Sure it "only" eliminates the need to have to plug a phone charger into the cigarette lighter, and deal with the annoying wire that always seems to interfere with the cup holder.
As for the EV charging mat on the garage floor, I saw that demo at CES 2011. It was cool, and the convenience and safety relative to plugging the car into the wall just might be worth the loss in efficiency.
I have to agree with them. Wireless charging isn't more convenient - it's not like the extra two seconds to plug in your device is a big deal. Having multiple chargers in the locations you need them is cheaper than having multiple charging mats.
A bigger factor is travel. Do you want to carry around a charging mat, along with the power adaptor to plug it into the wall, or just the power adaptor?
Wireless charging is a problem looking for a solution. Perhaps there are certain types of devices where it makes sense (electric toothbrushes as you mention) but for mobile phones and tablets I think it is just a fad popular for bragging rights. Once the "look what my cool new phone can do" factor wears off, few will care about it enough to consider it a "must have" when making purchase decisions.