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electric charge IKEA and Samsung back Qi wireless charging advance By GPaul Buckley lobal home furnishings retailer IKEA has breathed new life into the wireless charging market with the launch of Qi-powered bedside tables, lamps and desks that eliminate cable mess and allow to stay connected with alwayscharged mobile devices. IKEA said the wireless charging home furnishings will be available in Europe April 2015, followed by a global rollout. IKEA’s decision to opt for Qi global wireless charging standard gives the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) another major global brand to pin to its banner. “IKEA is delivering on its vision of making life at home better with this innovative, stylish and useful new collection that show consumers the beauty and simplicity of wireless charging,” said Menno Treffers, WPC chairman. Qi is the most widely deployed wireless power standard, available in 3,000 hotels, restaurants, airports and public locations worldwide. There are now more than 80 Qi-enabled smartphones, 15 models of Qi-enabled cars and countless Qi mobile accessories in the market today. “Our belief is that mobile phones are vital parts to people’s lives at home and their desire to stay connected, and Qi addresses an unmet need to keep devices powered,” said Bjorn Block, Range Manager for Lighting and Wireless Charging, at IKEA. “As a member of WPC, we value the access to the leading Is this the Tesla killer? By Christoph Hammerschmidt Only a week after the introduction of its secondgeneration electric sports sedan Quant F, e-car design company nanoFlowCell has announced another development to be shown at the Geneva Motor Salon. This time however, it is a small roadster with low-voltage drive. In contrast to the Quant F, the Quantino runs on just 48 Volts but nevertheless boasts quite a sporty performance. The electric energy is stored in the same flow battery Four seats, four-wheel drive, less than four metres long. The Quantino has a driving range of 1000 kilometres, nanoFlowcell promises. and buffer system as in the Quant F, the Quantino’s bigger brother. The powertrain however is different - the Quantino is equipped with four electric motors of 25 kW each. Thus it achieves about 136 horsepowers which give it a top speed of some 200 kmph (about 125 mph). The best is its driving range of more than 1000 km which is even more than a comparably powered gasoline vehicle would be able to offer. “The Quantino will be an electric vehicle that everybody can afford”, comments nanoFlowcell Nunzio La Vecchia, nanoFlowcell’s Chief Technology Officer. While the roadster will see the Geneva Motor Show as a concept car, it will become reality already this year, La Vecchia promised. “The Quantino will be ready to drive in 2015. And we are seeking road approval very fast,” he said. Hitherto low voltage drives typically were a feature of vehicles with very low power of less than 5 kW. Examples are golf and most advanced global standard for wireless charging.” To reinforce the trend for global brands to adopt the Qi wireless power standard Samsung Electronics also revealed this week that wireless charging is built into the Korean company’s flagship Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge smartphones. Both handsets will charge straight ‘out of the box’ on all Qi chargers now in the market. “As the number one smartphone supplier in the world, Samsung has set the bar on advanced, must-have features that enhance the consumer experience,” said Menno Treffers, chairman of the Wireless Power Consortium. “By including Qi in the Galaxy S6 line, Samsung has addressed a basic consumer need having a phone that is easily charged everywhere. Leading brands like Samsung, IKEA, Marriott, McDonalds, Toyota and others are continuing their commitment to wireless charging by embedding Qi into their products and locations.” “With the launch of Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, we believe 2015 will be a landmark year for the adoption of wireless charging,” said Peter Koo, Senior Vice President of Technology Strategy team, Samsung Mobile. “We hope to accelerate the use of this wireless charging technology with compelling smartphones and making charging experience more convenient for consumers.” carts, electric scooters or four-wheel low-speed city vehicles with up to 20 kW. One of the reasons is that to achieve high power at low voltage, very thick cables are required, which made them expensive and heavy. An additional drawback were relatively high ohmic losses in the cabling system. La Vecchia claims that the flow cell technology represents a solution to these issues, because there are also advantages of lowvoltage drives over the high-voltage systems deployed in today’s electric vehicles. For example, the effort to implement a protection against accidental contact or electric arcs, is much lower. The ECE-R 100 standard does not require any additional protective measures. This facilitates significantly the homologation process. “Functional safety is much easier to implement”, La Vecchia said. The flow cell technology, developed by Liechtensteinbased startup company nanoFlowcell, is a hybrid of conventional chemical battery and fuel cell. With the technology, electric energy is generated out of the chemical reaction of two electrolytes. These liquids are stored in two separate tanks in the car and can be refilled as fast as a gasoline tank at a conventional filling station - a significant advantage over the lithium-ion batteries today used to drive electric vehicles which require a recharging time measured in hours instead of minutes. www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe March 2015 11


EETE MAR 2015
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