Qualcomm has sold off its Halo wireless electric vehicle charging technology to MIT spinoff WiTriCity in exchange for an unspecified minority stake in TriCity.
Halo technology — which Qualcomm has been developing since before 2012 — is an entire system for charging an EV, enabling drivers to recharge simply parking over wireless charging ground pads. The technology involved includes power conversion, tuning, wireless power transfer, magnetics, control, communications and safety systems.
WiTricity (Watertown, Mass.) said the acquisition would simplify the ratification of a standard to help ensure wireless charging interoperability across automakers. EV drivers will be able to use any standards-compatible pad to charge their vehicles, WiTricity said.
A partnership between Qualcomm, automaker Renault and a French R&D institute have been developing an "electric road" technology based on Halo that is capable of recharging an EV while the vehicle is in motion.
Estimates indicate that there will more than 120 million EVs on the road by 2030 and that more than $50 billion will be invested in charging infrastructure by that time, WiTriCity said.
“WiTricity’s wireless charging technology is key to the future of mobility which is clearly electric, and increasingly shared and autonomous,” said Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity, in a press statement.
The Halo deal will bring more than 1,500 patents and patent applications related to wireless charging that WiTricity will own or control, the company said. WiTriCity, founded by MIT professor Marin Soljačić, spun out of the university in 2007.
Last month, Honda and WiTricity demonstrated a wireless vehicle-to-grid charging model at CES in Las Vegas, leveraging WiTricity’s DRIVE 11 wireless charging system.