Plugless Power, a division of Evatran, makes wireless charging systems for EVs. Currently, it has systems available for the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF. Starting in April, it will add a wireless charger for the Tesla Model S to its lineup.
You can pre-order one now with a refundable deposit of $244. Pricing for the system has not been announced, but the Chevy Volt system costs $1,260 and the one for the LEAF lists for $1,540. Cadillac ELR owners can pick one up for $1,940, but since Cadillac only sold about 14 of those cars, demand for that wireless system is quite low.
The Plugless Power system will only be available for rear wheel drive Model S sedans to start. Units for dual motor cars will be available later this year, but the company is not saying when exactly. “Plugless is not yet available for Tesla Roadster, Model X or Model 3. Our engineers are hard at work to bring Plugless to all Tesla models.”
The wireless charger is a 7.2-kW system that needs a 50-amp circuit and can be installed in a garage or outdoors. It can add 20 miles of range to a Model S for every hour that the car is parked on top of the charging pad. The regular Tesla Wall Charger is 10 kW unit. It adds about 28 miles of range for each hour of charging. Wireless chargers with double the power of today’s systems are in the works.
For those who are nervous about the prospect of some klutz messing with the wiring and programming of their Model S, Evatran says the system, which weighs 35 pounds, will be installed free of charge by an Evatran-certified technician and will not interfere with the Tesla warranty.
Tesla Motors itself has been cool to the idea of wireless charging, mostly because it is relatively slow compared to chargers that plug in. If the battery in a Tesla is fully depleted, the car would have to sit motionless over the charger for about 12 hours to get it back to a 100% state of charge.
Tesla is working on its own self charging system, a robotic arm that would plug itself in automatically and disconnect when charging is complete, but that system has some issues of its own. Early videos of prototypes show something that looks slightly obscene. You will definitely want to cover your children’s eyes while it performs its task. Even Elon Musk calls it “creepy.”
To function at maximum efficiency, a car needs to be precisely located directly over the charging unit. That is something that Tesla’s new Summon feature could handle easily with some tweaks to its programming. Tesla may end up offering wireless charging of its own in the future. In the world according to Tesla, the future is anytime after next weekend.