Automotive News reports the charging mats are designed to sit on the floor and be plugged into a power source while coils located on the underside of the car allow wireless engagement of the charger to charge the battery while the vehicle is parked.
This means that while the mats are plugged in the car is free of any leads. IHS Automotive powertrain research analyst Phil Gott told Automotive News, "The feedback we see from initial Volt and Leaf buyers is that, 'Gee, these cords get really dirty; gee, these cords get all tangled; what a pain in the neck.' A wireless charger truly gives you total freedom."
While companies like Tesla have been focusing on a plug-in "supercharger" that can re-charge one of its cars in less than an hour in a bid to alleviate consumer hesitation towards EVs, Nissan, Audi, Toyota, and Mitsubishi are among a number of other companies keen to develop wireless chargers.
General Motors has already invested $5 million into a private company called 'Powermat', technology the company says it's only using to charge smartphones and other devices wirelessly from within the car.
Director of hybrid electric vehicle business and technology development at Delphi Automotive, Randy Sumner, told Automotive News the charge mat arrangement, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), could send 3kW of electricity quickly enough to see a battery recharged in about four hours.
Automakers and suppliers expect the wireless charging technology to be ready for sale around 2015.