The Top 5 Wireless Charging Myths, Busted
Wireless charging has become increasingly popular in recent years, promising a convenient way to power everything from the devices we use to communicate to the vehicles we rely on to get online orders to our doorstep. However, despite its growing adoption and continued technology advancements, misconceptions about wireless charging persist. In this blog post, we will explore 5 wireless charging myths and explain why they are not actually true today.
Myth 1: Wireless Charging is Low Efficiency
One of the most common myths surrounding wireless charging is that it is significantly less efficient than traditional wired charging. Critics argue that wireless charging leads to more energy loss and, as a result, takes longer to charge your device. However, research suggests otherwise.
In a study conducted by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, researchers found that wireless charging efficiency has improved significantly in recent years. With modern technology, it can be just as efficient as traditional charging methods, with efficiency rates reaching 90% or more.
Resonant Link’s wireless charging systems use a first-of-its-kind wireless power technology called the Multi-Layer Self-Resonant Structure (MSRS), which has a 5-10x higher quality factor or Q, than traditional wireless power systems. This quality factor directly relates to efficiency as the higher the quality, the lower the losses and the higher the efficiency of the system. In fact, Resonant Link’s wireless charging systems have efficiencies above 90%, which is on par with wired charging.
Myth 2: Wireless Charging is Complicated to Deploy
Another common misconception is that implementing wireless charging is a complex and expensive process, making it suitable only for specialized applications. In reality, wireless charging solutions are becoming increasingly accessible and user-friendly. Wireless charging technology has evolved, and various companies offer simple, plug-and-play solutions for both personal and commercial use. The deployment process is no more complicated than setting up a new desk, making it accessible to a wide range of users.
Depending on the size of the wireless charging system, safety equipment may be needed to lift heavier wireless chargers and move them to their desired location; however, most wireless charging systems require very little to be installed. Resonant Link’s largest wireless charging system, for example, is a 19.2 kW, 400 A wireless charger for forklifts and industrial electric vehicles. This system consists of a transmit base station that sends the power, which plugs into a standard 480 V, 3-phase wall outlet, and bolts into the ground. It sends power to an On-Vehicle Receiver, which easily mounts to the battery box of a forklift battery. Installation takes mere minutes. This is just one example of how easy wireless charging can be to set up, even for higher power uses where chargers are larger.
Myth 3: Wireless Charging Only Works with Certain Types of Batteries
Some people believe that wireless charging is limited to specific types of batteries or devices. This is not true; wireless charging is designed to work with a wide range of devices from smartphones to medical devices like pacemakers to industrial and passenger electric vehicles. Depending on the wireless charging system, you can get interoperability with different types of batteries as well. Resonant Link’s 19.2kW, 400 A wireless charging for industrial electric vehicles is one example as it provides compatibility with lead acid and lithium ion batteries from 12 to 48 volts, as well as different vehicle types. This ensures that entire fleets can be charged with one system and businesses can be confident knowing their traditional forklift and autonomous forklift can both use the same wireless charger. In other industries, like implantable medical devices, manufacturers can leverage Resonant Link’s platform technology to use the same wireless charging system for different devices, reducing design and development time by repurposing components to reduce costs and get to market faster.
Beyond the flexibility some wireless charging systems offer today, as wireless charging standards continue to evolve, wireless charging will become even more popular. Wireless charging will be used for even more applications in the years to come, making it a no-brainer for consumers and businesses to adopt wireless charging technology without worrying about future battery, device, or vehicle compatibility.
Myth 4: Wireless Charging is Expensive
The perception that wireless charging is prohibitively expensive is another myth that’s simply not true, especially when looking at total cost of ownership, or the price of the wireless charging system plus the costs of operation. While early wireless charging solutions may have been cost-prohibitive, the technology's continued evolution and adoption has led to increased demand and competition, making components more available and driving down prices.
In addition, while upfront wireless charging costs can be on par with wired, when wireless charging is used for electric vehicle fleets, wireless charging doesn’t require upgrades to electrical infrastructure that are required with other types of charging, such as wired charging. Since wired charging happens at set times during the day, it increases electrical demand from the grid and requires dedicated charging space within facilities like warehouses. Wireless charging uses a standard wall outlet you’d find in warehouses and can be placed anywhere in a facility, making it flexible and more affordable long term. With wireless charging, utility rates are lower due to distributed electrical demand and charging throughout the day, electrical infrastructure costs are eliminated or reduced, and smaller fleets can get more done as they’re continuously powered, so fewer vehicles and batteries are needed to do the same work.
The cost savings of wireless charging are even more significant when unproductive labor time is considered. Without the need to plug and unplug chargers to keep vehicles powered, teams can do more productive work and never have to worry whether their trucks are charged. Overall, wireless charging offers excellent value for the convenience and lower total cost of ownership it provides.
Myth 5: Wireless Charging is Slow
One of the most enduring myths about wireless charging is that it is slower than wired charging. While it's true that early wireless charging solutions were slower, advancements in technology like Resonant Link’s Multi-Layer Self-Resonant Structure (MSRS) for wireless power transfer have closed the speed gap significantly.
Today, wireless power systems like Resonant Link’s 19.2 kW, 400 A wireless lift truck charger support fast wireless charging, which can be as fast as, if not faster than, traditional wired charging. In fact, wireless charging is so fast that it’s possible for forklifts and other material handling equipment to be partially charged in only a few minutes, with a process called opportunity fast charging. With opportunity charging, wireless chargers are placed at planned stops on vehicle’s routes, like loading docks, conveyors, ends of aisles, and break rooms, so vehicles get charged while they work and never have to stop just to be charged again. With wireless charging, it is now possible to get a quick and efficient charge without the need for cables or separate charging times, ensuring speedy charging and eliminating charging downtime.
Wireless charging technology has come a long way, and it's time to dispel these common myths. Contrary to popular belief, wireless charging can be highly efficient, easy to deploy, affordable, cross-compatible with different devices, battery types, and electric vehicles, and fast. It is no longer an expensive or slow alternative to traditional charging methods, but rather a competitive differentiator that businesses are using to appeal to their customers, increase operational efficiency, drive revenue, reduce costs, and improve sustainability.
As technology continues to advance, wireless charging will be adapted to even more applications, extending its use as a convenient and reliable power option for our work and lives. So, don't be deterred by these myths – give wireless charging a try and experience the convenience for yourself. Contact us today to discuss piloting our wireless charging for your business and product.
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